Submitted to: International Journal of Fruit Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/1/2012
Publication Date: 1/20/2013
Citation: Whitaker, V., Plotto, A., Hasing, T., Baldwin, E.A., Chandler, C. 2013. Fruit quality measures from a historical trial of University of Florida strawberry cultivars. International Journal of Fruit Science. 13(1):246-254. Interpretive Summary: The University of Florida (UF) has had an active strawberry breeding program since the 1960s, which resulted in varieties that are adapted to Florida growing conditions and harvested during the winter months (December to April). In order to learn trends in variety development over the last 50 years, ten released cultivars two new selections were compared in a two-location field study. The data show that fruit size increased with year of creation, and fruit became redder and redder, however only until 2002. There was no trend for chemical traits affecting flavor, i.e. sugars, acids or volatile compounds. There was a strong seasonal effect on sugars, acids and volatiles.
Technical Abstract: The strawberry breeding program of the University of Florida develops varieties that are highly adapted to west-central Florida, where approximately 8,800 acres of strawberries were grown during the 2009-10 season. In order to gain insight into breeding progress over time, two advanced selections and ten released cultivars, from Florida Belle (1975) to Florida Radiance (2008), were compared for various fruit quality traits. Cultivars and selections were arranged in a randomized complete block design at each of two locations (Balm, FL and Dover, FL). Fruit size varied dramatically with a minimum average weight of 16.2 g for ‘Dover’ (1979) and a maximum of 30.8 g for ‘Elyana’ (2008). Regression of average fruit weight on year of release showed an average gain in fruit size of 0.26 g/yr (R2 = 0.44). Improvements in fruit uniformity were also apparent, but gains for internal flesh color were not sustained. There was wide seasonal variability in sugars (sucrose, glucose, fructose, Brix) and acids (citric, malic, and titratable acidity); March tended to produce fruit with lower sugars. Sugars were highest in February while acids were highest in January. Also, correlations were found between sugars and volatiles having fruity and strawberry characters. Comparison of chemical data with sensory data from related studies indicates that instrumental measures, particularly for SSC/TA, could aid in breeding for improved flavor.