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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Corvallis, Oregon » Horticultural Crops Production and Genetic Improvement Research Unit » Research » Research Project #438281

Research Project: Improved Fruit, Grape and Wine Products through Precision Agriculture and Quality Component Evaluation

Location: Horticultural Crops Production and Genetic Improvement Research Unit

2020 Annual Report

This project’s overall goal is to refine agricultural management practices that growers use to improve fruit and fruit product quality. Objective 1: Determine the impacts of variety selection and production management practices on fruit and product quality components to optimize practices for superior fruit and wine production. [NP 305, Component 1, Problem Statement 1B] Subobjective 1A: Determine primary and secondary metabolites and their targeted analyses; evaluate and optimize analytical methods where insufficient data exists. Subobjective 1B: Evaluate developed quality component measurements on new or improved fruit and fruit products, and link to agricultural management.

Project objectives will be accomplished by integrating research across three core disciplines: food chemistry/phytochemical analysis, crop physiology, and plant breeding. A systematic approach, with targeted analyses of fruit quality compounds, will be utilized to predict the magnitude that environmental factors and cultural practices impart to fruit quality. This strategy will allow us to improve and define analytical methods for plant metabolite analyses that advance our comprehension of the interactions between canopy management, vine nutrient treatments, water regimes, vineyard microbiome, vine virus status, and cultivar/genotype selections have upon fruit development, fruit quality components, and vine physiology. An additional growing season will be employed, if necessary, to account for interruptions during the experimental treatment or sampling schedules.

Progress Report
This report is for project 2072-21000-057-00D, "Improved Fruit, Grape and Wine Products through Precision Agriculture and Quality Component Evaluation," which started in May 2020. Although this new project just began, there is some progress to report. Three new blackberry cultivars were released and we continued to investigate how low-quality irrigation water influences basil plant quality. For additional information, please see the final report for expired project 2072-21000-052-00D.

1. Celestial blackberry series – three new cultivars. ‘Eclipse,’ ‘Galaxy,’ and ‘Twilight’ blackberries are three new, thornless, semi-erect, high-quality blackberries released from the ARS scientists in Parma, Idaho, and Corvallis, Oregon, with Oregon State University and Nigde Omer Halisdemir University (Turkey) collaborators. These three patented cultivars have firm, dark fruit well-suited for the fresh market. These cultivars have lower anthocyanin (red pigment) levels compared to standard commercial trailing blackberries. Plants in this celestial blackberry series are the first cultivars derived from eastern and western North American blackberry germplasm. These blackberries will further contribute to U.S. blackberry production, valued at $31 million.

2. Salt water and fungi – impact on basil. Decreasing availability and rising costs of high-quality water for irrigation results in more frequent use of saline water sources in many crop production systems. ARS scientists in Corvallis, Oregon, and Parma, Idaho, found that salinity altered phenolic accumulation at lower salinity levels than those that influenced biomass yield. In salt-treated plants arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus (AMF) increased fresh weight and accumulation of several phenolics (quality component), but did not completely mitigate the negative effects of salinity on biomass yield or phenolic composition. The data highlights the importance of considering the effects of salinity on both crop productivity and quality. Basil industry contributes $15 million to the global economy.

Review Publications
Finn, C.E., Strik, B., Yorgey, B.M., Peterson, M.E., Jones, P.A., Lee, J., Bassil, N.V., Martin, R.R. 2020. 'Twilight' thornless semi-erect blackberry. HortScience. 55(7):1148-1152.
Finn, C.E., Strik, B., Yorgey, B.M., Peterson, M.E., Jones, P.A., Buller, G., Lee, J., Bassil, N.V., Martin, R.R. 2020. ‘Galaxy’ thornless semierect blackberry. HortScience. 55(6):967-971.
Scagel, C.F., Lee, J. 2020. Salinity sensitivity and mycorrhizal responsiveness of polyphenolics in ‘Siam Queen’ basil grown in soilless substrate. Scientia Horticulturae. 269.