Submitted to: Fruit Varieties Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/8/1999
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Blueberry growers in this area want commercial cultivars which ripen early because of higher prices paid for early fresh-market fruit. Southern highbush cultivars Jubilee, Magnolia and Pearl River were released Dec 94 from the USDA-ARS Small Fruit Research Station, Poplarville, Mississippi. They bloom 5-12 days later but have ripe berries 5-7 days sooner than Climax and Premier, two early rabbiteye blueberries widely planted in this region. Later blooming gives them a week's protection from late spring frosts or freezes. In March 1996 a severe freeze killed 60-75% of Premier and Climax blooms with just slight damage (5-12%) to Jubilee, Magnolia and Pearl River blooms which were a week later. Yields were correspondingly lower. The objective of this study was to evaluate the storage quality of the new releases by comparing them to Climax and Premier on the bases of quality factors before and after 28 days storage at 1-3C. Climax and Jubilee were highest in sugars, were the firmest and least decayed after storage. Southern highbush berries were smaller, lost more weight and were softer and more shriveled than the rabbiteyes. Pearl River fruit were unsalable because of high shrivel after storage. The rabbiteyes were higher in levels of anthocyanin pigments than southern highbush. Organic acid profile of southern highbush was very similar to that of northern highbush. Rated on retail-important quality factors, the storage quality of the cultivars in decreasing order was Climax, Jubilee, Premier, Magnolia and Pearl River. These results indicate that potential growers would not sacrifice storage quality to gain the late blooming-early ripening attributes of Jubilee or Magnolia.
Technical Abstract: Fruit of recently released southern highbush blueberry cultivars Jubilee, Magnolia and Pearl River and rabbiteye cultivars Climax and Premier were compared for storage quality. Physical characteristics and chemical composition before and after 28 days storage at 1-3C were the bases of comparison. Post-storage values of most quality parameters varied with cultivar and there were changes during storage. 'Climax' and 'Jubilee' ha the highest concentrations of glucose and fructose, were the most firm and least decayed after storage. The southern highbush cultivars had smaller berries, higher mean weight loss, more shrivel and were less firm than the rabbiteyes. The rabbiteyes were much higher in anthocyanins than southern highbush; anthocyanin content of all cultivars increased during storage. The organic acid profile of southern highbush cultivars was similar to those reported for highbush. Using a rating system based on means separations within cultivars, the estimated overall storage quality of the cultivars in decreasing order was Climax, Jubilee, Premier, Magnolia and Pearl River.