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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Fort Pierce, Florida » U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory » Citrus and Other Subtropical Products Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #380446

Research Project: Determination of Flavor and Healthful Benefits of Florida-Grown Fruits and Vegetables and Development of Postharvest Treatments to Optimize Shelf Life an Quality for Their Fresh and Processed Products

Location: Citrus and Other Subtropical Products Research

Title: Exploring environmental and storage factors affecting sensory, physical and chemical attributes of six southern highbush blueberry cultivars

item SATER, HALEY - University Of Florida
item FERRAO, FELIPE - University Of Florida
item OLMSTEAD, JAMES - Driscoll'S
item MUNOZ, PATRICIO - University Of Florida
item Bai, Jinhe
item HOPF, ALWIN - University Of Florida
item Plotto, Anne

Submitted to: Scientia Horticulturae
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/22/2021
Publication Date: 8/17/2021
Publication URL:
Citation: Sater, H., Ferrao, F., Olmstead, J., Munoz, P., Bai, J., Hopf, A., Plotto, A. 2021. Exploring environmental and storage factors affecting sensory, physical and chemical attributes of six southern highbush blueberry cultivars. Scientia Horticulturae. 289:110468.

Interpretive Summary: Florida occupies a niche market in blueberry production with harvests occurring in April-May. We evaluated five new blueberry cultivars from the University of Florida breeding program, together with a standard commercial variety, for eating quality by sensory evaluation and standard instrumental measurements (firmness, soluble solids, titratable acidity), over two seasons, two harvests and three storage durations. Indigocrisp and Keecrisp maintained the best qualities in storage, with high firmness, sweetness and overall flavor.

Technical Abstract: Blueberry (Vaccinium spp.) is a specialty crop with expanding production and consumption worldwide. Southern Highbush Blueberries (SHB) require few chilling hours and include early-ripening cultivars which can be harvested in an early market window making the crop more profitable for growers in sub-tropical regions. To expand the marketability of the crop, fruit breeders are seeking to meet the current demand for fruit quality. To this end, this study gathered sensory measurements (firmness, sweetness, sourness, blueberry flavor, green flavor and off-flavors), chemical (pH, titratable acidity and soluble solids concentration), and physical attributes (compression force) on six SHB cultivars, in order to understand how fruit quality traits are affected by environmental conditions such as storage duration, year and harvest date. Differences across environmental conditions for all attributes were observed. Indigocrisp and Keecrisp were the firmest cultivars and maintained firmness over time in storage. Additionally, Indigocrisp was the sweetest and had the most blueberry and green flavor among the cultivars. On the other hand, Arcadia was the softest, as measured by sensory and compression force, but varied with year and harvest. Arcadia and Emerald were the least sweet and most sour of the cultivars, and Endura and Patrecia were intermediate for all sensory attributes. In general, sensory descriptors were well explained by instrumental measurements. Variations across seasons and storage were inconsistent among cultivars, but Indigocrisp was the most stable cultivar for the quality traits evaluated. In the end, all fruit quality traits assayed in this study were influenced by environmental conditions throughout the season.