Skip to main content
ARS Home » Northeast Area » Kearneysville, West Virginia » Appalachian Fruit Research Laboratory » Innovative Fruit Production, Improvement, and Protection » Research » Research Project #442669

Research Project: Germplasm Evaluation for Fruit Quality and Post-Harvest Traits

Location: Innovative Fruit Production, Improvement, and Protection

Project Number: 8080-21000-033-009-T
Project Type: Trust Fund Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jul 1, 2022
End Date: Dec 1, 2025

The objectives of this project are to: 1) Evaluate USDA Pear Collection for optimal harvest and storage time for 50 high-value genotypes. (PIs Collum, Gottschalk, Reinhold). 2) Characterize the 50 high-value genotypes for fruit quality, attributes including total soluble solids, acidity, polyphenolic content, texture, peel and flesh color, and grade. (PI Gottschalk). 3) Challenge the 50 high-value genotypes to simulated supply-chain stress to document resistance to bruising, scuffing, and puncturing. 4) Document and distribute findings through publications and presentations regarding the resistance of the 50 high-value genotypes to storage disorders and disease.

Objective 1: Identify 50 high-value germplasm accession by searching the USDA GRIN database for descriptors and observations with keywords related to ripening, fruit quality, disease resistance, and supply chain resilience. Upon reaching harvest maturity (determined by PI Reinhold at NCGR), 75 fruit will be harvested and shipped overnight from the NCGR to AFRS to be placed into cold storage. Accession will then be evaluated for chilling requirements on a biweekly basis spanning 2 to 12 weeks in cold storage via firmness testing on a subset of fruit. This will be repeated across three growing seasons. Additionally, a subset of fruit will be evaluated for presence/absence of post-harvest disease. Pathogen isolates will be collected, sequenced, and identified during the first year. In years two and three, wound inoculations will be performed on accessions that exhibited resistance to disease during the phenotyping in year one. Objective 2: At peak ripeness post storage at AFRS, subsets of fruit from each accession will undergo phenotyping for fruit quality. During the first year this will be conducted using a near infrared (NIR) fruit quality meter and traditional destructive protocols to measure total soluble sugars, acidity, firmness, polyphenols, external and internal color, size, and grade. Data from the first year will be used to create a model and validate for the NIR meter based on the correlation between NIR measurements and destructive tests. In years two and three, the NIR meter will be the sole method used by employing the trained model from year one. Lastly, excess fruit will be taste tested using a three-person trained panel to rate fruit quality using qualitative means. Objective 3: Each year a subset of fruit from each accession will be evaluated for supply chain resilience. This will be accomplished by subjecting fruit to methods that simulate the supply chain for scuffing, bruising, and puncturing. Scuffing will be done using a vibration table set to match the frequency of movement experience by fruit during shipping. Bruising will be evaluated using a firmness tester to a set pressure and the resulting wounding scored. Puncturing will also be conducted with a firmness meter to determine pressure required to break peel. Objective 4: To disseminate research results we will present results at the annual winter expo hosted by the funding agency, publish research articles in journals, upload data into GRIN for public access, and release trained model for NIR meter for commercial use.