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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Madison, Wisconsin » Vegetable Crops Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #352470

Research Project: Cranberry Genetics and Insect Management

Location: Vegetable Crops Research

Title: Breeding trait priorities of the cranberry industry in the United States and Canada

item GALLARDO, R. KARINA - Washington State University
item ZHANG, QI - Washington State University
item Polashock, James
item RODRIGUEZ-SOANA, CESAR - Rutgers University
item VORSA, NICHOLI - Rutgers University
item ATUCHA, AMAYA - University Of Wisconsin
item Zalapa, Juan
item IORIZZO, MASSIMO - North Carolina State University

Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/16/2018
Publication Date: 7/1/2018
Citation: Gallardo, R., Zhang, Q., Polashock, J.J., Rodriguez-Soana, C., Vorsa, N., Atucha, A., Zalapa, J.E., Iorizzo, M. 2018. Breeding trait priorities of the cranberry industry in the United States and Canada. HortScience. 53(10):1467–1474.

Interpretive Summary: Having an informed assessment, of priority genetic traits in plant breeding programs is important to improve the efficiency of developing breakthrough cultivars. Efficiency improvement is even more critical for perennial crops such as cranberries, as they usually involve more resources in terms of time and funding compared to other crops. This study investigated the relative importance of cranberry producers’ preferences for breeding traits related to fruit quality, productivity, plant physiology, and resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses. Industry responses, in general, revealed that fruit quality, in particular, firmness, fruit size and anthocyanin content, and resistance to fruit rot were the most important traits to improve in new cranberry cultivars. These traits have the potential to increase the quality standards needed to process high value sweet and dried cranberry products, positively affecting price premiums received by producers, which is critical for the economic viability of the cranberry industry. Our findings will be useful to breeders and allied scientists seeking to develop an advanced DNA based selection strategy that would be impactful to the global cranberry industry.

Technical Abstract: This study is the first effort to report the most impactful cranberry fruit and plant traits for the industry in major growing areas in the United States and Canada. The goal of this study was to determine the importance of a selected number of plant and fruit traits to assert which must be included in new improved cultivars warranting its success in the market place. A survey was conducted in New Jersey, Wisconsin, and British Columbia (Canada) targeting producers predominantly responsible for the decision making in their business operation. We grouped the traits in five clusters: fruit quality, disease resistance, arthropod pest resistance, plant stress tolerance, and other plant traits. Industry responses were mixed and varied across regions. In Wisconsin and British Columbia fruit quality was the most important trait cluster whereas in New Jersey it was disease resistance. Among fruit quality traits, fruit firmness, size, and anthocyanin content emerged were assigned highest importance due to the emergence of the SDC market. While high-throughput methods to measure cranberry fruit size and color have been developed, they need to be implemented at a large scale, fruit firmness methods relevant to SDC production need to be developed. Different growing conditions among regions and marketing characteristics influence differences in importance assigned to trait clusters. There were regional differences for the importance assigned to traits influenced by production environment, such as disease resistance traits, arthropod resistance and tolerance to abiotic stress. Results from this study will be useful to academia, government and industry, interested to enhancing the economic profitability of the cranberry industry in North America because it provides cues where investment in research and development should focus in order to lessen the challenges affecting this industry.