Submitted to: Euphytica
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/1/2012
Publication Date: 4/4/2012
Publication URL: handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/58536
Citation: Lewers, K.S., Luo, Y., Vinyard, B.T. 2012. Evaluating strawberry breeding selections for post-harvest fruit decay. Euphytica. 186:539-555. Interpretive Summary: Strawberry is a highly perishable fruit crop with a short storage life. Methods used previously by strawberry breeders to identify potential new varieties with improved storage life did not reflect commercial practices or were not optimally suitable for plant breeders. Using plant material from a functioning strawberry breeding program, we developed more precise methods, based on commercial practices and tailored to the requirements of strawberry breeders. We found that multiple harvests were more useful than a single harvest, and that a long fruit storage testing period are helpful in identifying improved strawberry varieties. These findings can be used by breeders of strawberry and other fruit and vegetable crops to develop new varieties superior for several produce quality traits.
Technical Abstract: The annual replicated yield assessments for the USDA-ARS strawberry breeding effort at Beltsville, MD, 2007 and 2008, were used to develop a method of assessing each genotype’s post-harvest decay. Detectability of statistical differences between genotypes was improved by treating harvest × plot combinations as replicates and by transformation of percentage decay with square root followed by arcsine. Analysis of covariance factors of “days after the first harvest” and “days after the minimum storage period” showed it was possible to identify an optimal storage period to maximize detectability of differences between genotypes, and using data from all harvests is preferable to limiting harvest to one or a few harvests. Analysis of genotypes across two years resulted in no significant genotype × interaction effect, indicating that superior parents could be selected and that poor genotypes could be discarded with confidence in a single year of evaluation, though separation of means was improved with two years.