Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: March 28, 2007
Publication Date: July 16, 2007
Citation: Marshall, D.A., Spiers, J.M., Stringer, S.J. 2007. Prediciting Berry Splitting Indices in Rabbiteye and Southern Highbush Blueberries Using Fruit Firmness as an Indicator. HortScience 42(4) p. 1020. Interpretive Summary: Breeders strive to produce a firm, yet palatable berry. Yet, in previous studies splitting susceptible fruit had higher fruit firmness values than splitting resistant varieties. This study was initiated to further investigate the correlation between splitting susceptibility and fruit firmness. Rabbiteye (Vaccinium ashei) and Southern Highbush (Vaccinium corymbosum X) blueberry cultivars and selections were used to determine if berries with higher measurements of fruit firmness had a higher splitting occurrence. Berries were measured for fruit firmness using a QTS25 and/or a FirmTech2 instrument. Fruit were submitted to laboratory induced splitting. Correlations were determined by SAS. A significant negative correlation was found between splitting and deformation values tested on QTS25. No other significant correlation was found between splitting and firmness measurements. Splitting susceptibility is cultivar dependent and not dependent on the firmness of the berry. Blueberry breeders can use this information to further inhance their breeding program. This will in turn produce better, splitting resistant cultivars for the growers and higher quality fruit for the consumer.
Technical Abstract: Rain-related splitting can be a major problem in blueberries often reducing marketable yields and thus profit by 14-30%. If a few key factors that cause splitting in blueberries could be identified, these factors could be evaluated in new potential cultivars thus reducing the chance that cultivars highly susceptible to splitting would be released. A significant negative correlation was found between splitting and deformation values tested on QTS25. No other significant correlations were found between splitting and firmness measurements. Splitting and firmness appear to be cultivar specific. Some cultivars like “Montgomery” are firm yet have a very low incidence of splitting. This is the type berry that the blueberry breeders are looking for and can develop.