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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: ENHANCEMENT OF BLUEBERRY, STRAWBERRY, AND BRAMBLES THROUGH MOLECULAR APPROACHES Title: Organoleptic Analysis of Blueberry Cultivars

Authors
item Polashock, James
item Saftner, Robert
item Ehlenfeldt, Mark

Submitted to: New Jersey Annual Vegetable Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: December 8, 2006
Publication Date: January 16, 2007
Citation: Polashock, J.J., Saftner, R.A., Ehlenfeldt, M.K. 2007. Organoleptic Analysis of Blueberry Cultivars. New Jersey Annual Vegetable Meeting Proceedings, pp. #152-153.

Interpretive Summary: Blueberry selections must possess a range of horticultural characteristics before being considered suitable to release as a cultivar. Fruit quality characteristics are interrelated and in some cases subjective. In an effort to streamline the selection process and remove subjectivity, we initiated this project to 1) determine what fruit characteristics consumers consider to be important and 2) determine if those characteristics could be measured objectively. We selected twelve cultivars for analysis that included both highbush and rabbiteye blueberries. Berries were evaluated in the lab for color, size, firmness, sugars, acidity, and aroma. Berries from the same lot were also rated by consumers. These objective measurements, although variable among the cultivars tested, were not good predictors of consumer acceptability. Consumers preferred fruit that was juicy and sweet in taste tests. These results are important for blueberry breeding programs designed to produce varieties and fruit that consumers find appealing.

Technical Abstract: Blueberry selections must possess a range of horticultural characteristics before being considered suitable to release as a cultivar. These characteristics include soil adaptability, consistently high yields, high quality fruit, and many others such as disease resistance. These characteristics are interrelated and in some cases subjective. We initiated this project to streamline the selection process for fruit quality and to minimize subjectivity in selection. Specifically, our goals were to 1) determine what fruit characteristics consumers consider to be important and 2) determine if those characteristics could be measured objectively. We selected twelve cultivars for analysis that included both highbush and rabbiteye blueberries. Cultivars were chosen to span the season and included newer varieties as well as traditional favorites. All fruit were picked at the peak of ripeness for that particular cultivar and evaluated in groups of four (early, mid and late season). Berries were evaluated in the lab for color, size, firmness, brix and titratable acidity. Berries from the same lot were shipped to Beltsville, MD for volatile analysis (volatiles are important flavor compounds) and taste-panel evaluation. Panelists were untrained blueberry consumers. Each panelist was given a questionnaire that included a rating scale for several sensory characteristics including skin toughness, texture during eating, juiciness, acceptability of appearance, color, fruit size, flavor and overall eating quality. Results showed a broad range of characteristics are acceptable to consumers. Objective measurements, although variable among the cultivars tested, were not good predictors of consumer acceptability.

Last Modified: 12/18/2014