Scientists seek industry input on key traits of blueberries, cranberries

October 20, 2016

Read the original article from The Packer.

The Plants for Human Health Institute at North Carolina State University is asking those active in the blueberry and cranberry industries to provide information traitson what traits are most desirable in those fruit so that a group of scientists can develop new cultivars that address those preferences.

Surveys will be distributed at blueberry and cranberry association meetings throughout the rest of the year as a way to gather such information, according to a news release.

Researchers have identified some general traits that could be prioritized in breeding — frost tolerance, heat resistance, insect and disease resistance, fruit quality, characteristics to improve machine harvest — but want to glean more specific information from growers, nurseries, and processing and packing operations.

The results of the survey will be discussed in 2017 when cranberry and blueberry researchers gather to review the latest approaches to breeding.

The project is led by assistant professor Massimo Iorizzo and funded by a USDA Specialty Crop Research Initiative Planning Grant. The group working on the project consists of 25 blueberry and cranberry scientists from 11 U.S. institutions.

More about the Plants for Human Health Institute:

N.C. State’s Plants for Human Health Institute (PHHI) consists of Research and Extension programs that create a dynamic presence at the N.C. Research Campus. Research on fruits and vegetables will enhance the health-protective value of food crops and has the potential to increase the economic impact of North Carolina agriculture. PHHI is unique in that it supports an in-house outreach component, a group of N.C. Cooperative Extension personnel that works with institute faculty and Cooperative Extension agents and specialists statewide to deliver educational resources to enrich the lives and economy of North Carolinians.

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) at N.C. State supports the Plants for Human Health Institute with faculty from the departments of horticultural science; food, bioprocessiong and nutrition sciences; plant and microbial biology; and agricultural and resource economics. This transdisciplinary interaction strengthens the efforts of individual faculty.

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