Special Issue "Berry Crop Production and Protection"

A special issue of Agronomy (ISSN 2073-4395). This special issue belongs to the section "Horticultural and Floricultural Crops".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2018).

Printed Edition Available!
A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Samir C. Debnath
Website
Guest Editor
St. John’s Research and Development Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Bldg. 25, 308 Brookfield Road, St. John’s, NL A1E 6J5, Canada
Interests: berry crops; breeding; biodiversity; biotechnology; genetic enhancement; in vitro culture; micropropagation; molecular marker; wild germplasm

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Berry crops include, but are not limited to, the genera: Fragaria (strawberry, Rosaceae), Ribes (currant and gooseberry, Grossulariaceae), Rubus (brambles: raspberry and blackberry; Rosaceae), Vaccinium (blueberry, cranberry and lingonberry; Ericaceae) and Vitis (grapes, Vitaceae). The significant role of these fruits in maintaining human health has increased their popularity and production, dramatically, across the world. This Special Issue of Agronomy will cover berry crops in the areas of breeding, genetics, germplasm, production systems, propagation, plant and soil nutrition, pest and disease management, postharvest, health benefits, marketing and economics and other related areas. The aim will be to bring together a collection of valuable articles that will serve as a foundation of innovative ideas for production and protection of health-promoting berry crops in changed environment.

Dr. Samir Debnath
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • antioxidants
  • biodiversity
  • biotechnology
  • climate change
  • germplasm
  • genetic enhancement
  • horticultural practices
  • micropropagation
  • pest resistance

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Application of Nano-Silicon Dioxide Improves Salt Stress Tolerance in Strawberry Plants
Agronomy 2019, 9(5), 246; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9050246 - 17 May 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
Silicon application can improve productivity outcomes for salt stressed plants. Here, we describe how strawberry plants respond to treatments including various combinations of salt stress and nano-silicon dioxide, and assess whether nano-silicon dioxide improves strawberry plant tolerance to salt stress. Strawberry plants were [...] Read more.
Silicon application can improve productivity outcomes for salt stressed plants. Here, we describe how strawberry plants respond to treatments including various combinations of salt stress and nano-silicon dioxide, and assess whether nano-silicon dioxide improves strawberry plant tolerance to salt stress. Strawberry plants were treated with salt (0, 25 or 50 mM NaCl), and the nano-silicon dioxide treatments were applied to the strawberry plants before (0, 50 and 100 mg L−1) or after (0 and 50 mg L−1) flowering. The salt stress treatments reduced plant biomass, chlorophyll content, and leaf relative water content (RWC) as expected. Relative to control (no NaCl) plants the salt treated plants had 10% lower membrane stability index (MSI), 81% greater proline content, and 54% greater cuticular transpiration; as well as increased canopy temperature and changes in the structure of the epicuticular wax layer. The plants treated with nano-silicon dioxide were better able to maintain epicuticular wax structure, chlorophyll content, and carotenoid content and accumulated less proline relative to plants treated only with salt and no nano-silicon dioxide. Analysis of scanning electron microscopic (SEM) images revealed that the salt treatments resulted in changes in epicuticular wax type and thickness, and that the application of nano-silicon dioxide suppressed the adverse effects of salinity on the epicuticular wax layer. Nano-silicon dioxide treated salt stressed plants had increased irregular (smoother) crystal wax deposits in their epicuticular layer. Together these observations indicate that application of nano-silicon dioxide can limit the adverse anatomical and biochemical changes related to salt stress impacts on strawberry plants and that this is, in part, associated with epicuticular wax deposition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Berry Crop Production and Protection) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Prohexadione-Calcium Application during Vegetative Growth Affects Growth of Mother Plants, Runners, and Runner Plants of Maehyang Strawberry
Agronomy 2019, 9(3), 155; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9030155 - 25 Mar 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa Duch.) is an important horticultural crop that is vegetatively propagated using runner plants. To achieve massive production of runner plants, it is important to transfer the assimilation products of the mother plant to the runner plants, and not [...] Read more.
Strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa Duch.) is an important horticultural crop that is vegetatively propagated using runner plants. To achieve massive production of runner plants, it is important to transfer the assimilation products of the mother plant to the runner plants, and not to the runner itself. Application of prohexadione–calcium (Pro–Ca), a plant growth retardant with few side effects, to strawberry is effective in inhibiting transport of assimilates to runners. This study aimed to determine the optimum application method and concentration of Pro–Ca on the growth characteristics of mother plants, runners, and runner plants for the propagation of strawberry in nurseries. Pro–Ca was applied at the rate of 0, 50, 100, 150, or 200 mg·L−1 (35 mL per plant) to plants via foliar spray or drenching under greenhouse conditions at 30 days after transplantation. Petiole lengths of mother plants were measured 15 weeks after treatment; growth was suppressed at the higher concentrations of Pro–Ca regardless of the application method. However, the crown diameter was not significantly affected by the application method or Pro–Ca concentration. The number of runners was 7.0 to 8.2, with no significant difference across treatments. Runner length was shorter at higher concentrations of Pro–Ca, especially in the 200 mg·L−1 drench treatment. However, fresh weight (FW) and dry weights (DW) of runners in the 50 mg·L−1 Pro–Ca drench treatments were higher than controls. Foliar spray and drench treatments were more effective for runner plant production than the control; a greater number of runner plants were produced with the 100 and 150 mg·L−1 Pro–Ca foliar spray treatment and the 50 and 100 mg·L−1 drench treatment. The FW and DW of the first runner plant was not significantly different in all treatments, but DW of the second runner plant, and FW and DW of the third runner plant were greatest in the 50 mg·L−1 Pro–Ca drench treatment. These results suggested that growth and production of runner plants of Maehyang strawberry were greatest under the 50 mg·L−1 Pro–Ca drench treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Berry Crop Production and Protection) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Assessment of Ultrasound Assisted Extraction as an Alternative Method for the Extraction of Anthocyanins and Total Phenolic Compounds from Maqui Berries (Aristotelia chilensis (Mol.) Stuntz)
Agronomy 2019, 9(3), 148; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9030148 - 21 Mar 2019
Cited by 7
Abstract
Research interest regarding maqui (Aristotelia chilensis) has increased over the last years due to its potential health benefits as one of the most antioxidant-rich berries. Ultrasound-assisted extraction (UAE) is an advanced green, fast, and ecological extraction technique for the production of [...] Read more.
Research interest regarding maqui (Aristotelia chilensis) has increased over the last years due to its potential health benefits as one of the most antioxidant-rich berries. Ultrasound-assisted extraction (UAE) is an advanced green, fast, and ecological extraction technique for the production of high quality extracts from natural products, so it has been proposed in this work as an ideal alternative extraction technique for obtaining extracts of high bioactivity from maqui berries. In order to determine the optimal conditions, the extraction variables (percentage of methanol, pH, temperature, ratio “sample mass/volume of solvent”, amplitude, and cycle) were analyzed by a Box-Behnken design, in conjunction with the response surface method. The statistical analysis revealed that the temperature and the percentage of methanol were the most influential variables on the extraction of the total phenolic compounds and total anthocyanins, respectively. The optimal extraction time was determined at 15 min for total phenolic compounds, while it was only 5 min for anthocyanins. The developed methods showed a high precision level with a coefficient of variation of less than 5%. Finally, the new methods were successfully applied to several real samples. Subsequently, the results were compared to those that were obtained in previous experiments by means of microwave assisted extraction (MAE). Similar extraction yields were obtained for phenolic compounds under optimized conditions. However, UAE proved to be slightly more efficient than MAE in the extraction of anthocyanins. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Berry Crop Production and Protection) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Influence of Type of Management and Climatic Conditions on Productive Behavior, Oenological Potential, and Soil Characteristics of a ‘Cabernet Sauvignon’ Vineyard
Agronomy 2019, 9(2), 64; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9020064 - 01 Feb 2019
Abstract
(1) Background: Degradation of soils and erosion have been described for most of the soils presented along the Maule Valley. Organic and integrated management promotes agroecosystem health, improving soil biological activity. Due to this, the aim of this research was to study the [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Degradation of soils and erosion have been described for most of the soils presented along the Maule Valley. Organic and integrated management promotes agroecosystem health, improving soil biological activity. Due to this, the aim of this research was to study the effect of organic, integrated, and conventional management on the productive, oenological and soil variables of a vineyard cultivated under semiarid conditions during 5 consecutive seasons; (2) Methods: Yield, grape and wine oenological, and soil physicochemical parameters were evaluated. Bioclimatic indices were calculated in the studied seasons; (3) Results: Conventional management allowed to improve yield and the number of bunches per vine compared to organic management. However, this latter enhanced mineral nitrogen and potassium content in soil. Based on bioclimatic indices, heat accumulation improved number of bunches per plant and most of the soil physicochemical parameters; (4) Conclusions: Organic management improved the accumulation of some microelements in soils at the expense of yield. Organic matter decreased along the study was carried out. Season was the conditioning factor of the variability of most of the studied parameters, while the interaction between season and type of management affected soluble solids, probable alcohol and pH in grapes, and total polyphenol index and pH in wines. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Berry Crop Production and Protection) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
PGR and Its Application Method Affect Number and Length of Runners Produced in ‘Maehyang’ and ‘Sulhyang’ Strawberries
Agronomy 2019, 9(2), 59; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9020059 - 28 Jan 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Vegetative propagation using runner plants is an important method to expand the cultivation area for the strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa Duch.). However, excessively long runners need an increased total amount of nutrients and energy to receive elongation from mother plants, which may [...] Read more.
Vegetative propagation using runner plants is an important method to expand the cultivation area for the strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa Duch.). However, excessively long runners need an increased total amount of nutrients and energy to receive elongation from mother plants, which may lead to poor growth or reduced output. The use of plant growth regulators (PGRs) is an adoptable way to solve such problems. The objectives of this experiment were to study the effects of PGRs and their application methods on the growth and development of runners, runner plants, and mother plants, and also to find effective ways to control the number and length of runners without harmful side effects. Chlormequat chloride (CCC), 6-benzylaminopurine (BA), and ethephon (ETH) at a concentration of 100 mg·L−1 were applied via three different methods: injection into crowns, medium drench, and foliar spray. The results showed that BA injection into crowns was the most effective combination among all treatments, which prominently shortened the length of runners and increased the number of runners and leaves on a single plant. Furthermore, plants with BA solution injection tended to produce stronger runners with higher fresh and dry weights, without affecting the health states of mother plants. The ETH solution seemed to have toxic effects on plants, by leading many dead leaves and weak runners, and increased activities of antioxidant enzymes. Other than the injection method, the other two application methods of the CCC solution did not significantly affect the growth and development of both cultivars. Runner plants grown for 30 days were not affected by any treatments, and they were in similar conditions. Overall, BA injection into crowns is recommended for controlling the number and length of strawberry runners. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Berry Crop Production and Protection) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Bird Management in Blueberries and Grapes
Agronomy 2018, 8(12), 295; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8120295 - 07 Dec 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
Bird damage to fruit is a long-standing challenge for growers that imposes significant costs because of yield losses and grower efforts to manage birds. We measured bird damage in ‘Bluecrop’ blueberry fields and Pinot noir vineyards in 2012–2014 in Michigan to investigate how [...] Read more.
Bird damage to fruit is a long-standing challenge for growers that imposes significant costs because of yield losses and grower efforts to manage birds. We measured bird damage in ‘Bluecrop’ blueberry fields and Pinot noir vineyards in 2012–2014 in Michigan to investigate how year, grower, and forest cover influenced the proportions of bird damage. We tested whether inflatable tubemen (2013–2014) and a methyl anthranilate spray (2015) reduced bird damage in blueberries, and tested the deterrent effect of inflatable tubemen in grapes (2014). Years when crop yield was lower tended to have a higher damage percentage; for blueberries, bird damage was highest in 2012, and in grapes, damage was highest in 2012 and 2014. Neither blueberry fields nor vineyards with inflatable tubemen showed significantly reduced bird damage, although the blueberry fields showed a non-significant trend toward lower damage in the tubemen blocks. Blueberry field halves treated with the methyl anthranilate spray had equivalent bird damage to untreated halves. Our results correspond to previous work showing that percent bird damage varies by year, which was likely because bird consumption of fruit is relatively constant over time, while fruit yield varies. Fruit growers should expect a higher proportion of bird damage in low-fruit contexts, such as low-yield years, and prepare to invest more in bird management at those times. Investigating patterns of bird damage and testing deterrent strategies remain challenges. Bird activity is spatially and temporally variable, and birds’ mobility necessitates tests at large scales. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Berry Crop Production and Protection) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Ergonomic Evaluation of Current Advancements in Blueberry Harvesting
Agronomy 2018, 8(11), 266; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8110266 - 17 Nov 2018
Cited by 6
Abstract
Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) accounted for 32% of days-away-from-work cases in private industry in 2016. Several factors have been associated with MSDs, such as repetitive motion, excessive force, awkward and/or sustained postures, and prolonged sitting and standing, all of which are required in [...] Read more.
Work-related musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) accounted for 32% of days-away-from-work cases in private industry in 2016. Several factors have been associated with MSDs, such as repetitive motion, excessive force, awkward and/or sustained postures, and prolonged sitting and standing, all of which are required in farm workers’ labor. While numerous epidemiological studies on the prevention of MSDs in agriculture have been conducted, an ergonomics evaluation of blueberry harvesting has not yet been systematically performed. The purpose of this study was to investigate the risk factors of MSDs for several types of blueberry harvesting (hand harvesting, semi-mechanical harvesting with hand-held shakers, and over-the-row machines) in terms of workers’ postural loads and self-reported discomfort using ergonomics intervention techniques. Five field studies in the western region of the United States between 2017 and 2018 were conducted using the Borg CR10 scale, electromyography (EMG), Rapid Upper Limb Assessment (RULA), the Cumulative Trauma Disorders (CTD) index, and the NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) lifting equation. In evaluating the workloads of picking and moving blueberries by hand, semi-mechanical harvesting with hand-held shakers, and completely mechanized harvesting, only EMG and the NIOSH lifting equation were used, as labor for this system is limited to loading empty lugs and unloading full lugs. Based on the results, we conclude that working on the fully mechanized harvester would be the best approach to minimizing worker loading and fatigue. This is because the total component ratio of postures in hand harvesting with a RULA score equal to or greater than 5 was 69%, indicating that more than half of the postures were high risk for shoulder pain. For the semi-mechanical harvesting, the biggest problem with the shakers is the vibration, which can cause fatigue and various risks to workers, especially in the upper limbs. However, it would be challenging for small- and medium-sized blueberry farms to purchase automated harvesters due to their high cost. Thus, collaborative efforts among health and safety professionals, engineers, social scientists, and ergonomists are needed to provide effective ergonomic interventions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Berry Crop Production and Protection) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Quality Parameter Levels of Strawberry Fruit in Response to Different Sound Waves at 1000 Hz with Different dB Values (95, 100, 105 dB)
Agronomy 2018, 8(7), 127; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8070127 - 23 Jul 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
All living organisms perceive mechanical signals, regardless of their taxonomic classifications or life habits. Because of their immobility, plants are influenced by a variety of environmental stresses, such as mechanical stress, during their growth and development. Plants develop physiological behaviors to adapt to [...] Read more.
All living organisms perceive mechanical signals, regardless of their taxonomic classifications or life habits. Because of their immobility, plants are influenced by a variety of environmental stresses, such as mechanical stress, during their growth and development. Plants develop physiological behaviors to adapt to their environment for long-term development and evolution. Sound-induced stress—an abiotic stress factor—is an example of mechanical stress and is caused by sound waves generated by different sources. This stress has a negative effect on the development and growth of plants. The strawberry plants evaluated in this study were exposed to three different sound intensity levels (95, 100, 105 dB) at a constant frequency of 1000 Hz. In strawberry plants, stress induced by sound waves is thought to trigger increased production of secondary metabolites as a defense mechanism. To determine the effect of sound applications, the fresh and dry weights of the roots and shoots were measured in strawberry plants, and the pH, total soluble solids (Brix), titratable acidity, vitamin C, total sugar, total acid, and total phenols were analyzed in the fruits. Results show that the sound stress, which was produced at a constant frequency (1000 Hz) and different sound levels (95, 100, 105 dB), affects the growth parameters of the plant and several quality parameters of the fruit. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Berry Crop Production and Protection) Printed Edition available
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Review

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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Molecular and Genetic Bases of Fruit Firmness Variation in Blueberry—A Review
Agronomy 2018, 8(9), 174; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy8090174 - 05 Sep 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
Blueberry (Vaccinium spp.) has been recognized worldwide as a valuable source of health-promoting compounds, becoming a crop with some of the fastest rising consumer demand trends. Fruit firmness is a key target for blueberry breeding as it directly affects fruit quality, consumer [...] Read more.
Blueberry (Vaccinium spp.) has been recognized worldwide as a valuable source of health-promoting compounds, becoming a crop with some of the fastest rising consumer demand trends. Fruit firmness is a key target for blueberry breeding as it directly affects fruit quality, consumer preference, transportability, shelf life, and the ability of cultivars to be machine harvested. Fruit softening naturally occurs during berry development, maturation, and postharvest ripening. However, some genotypes are better at retaining firmness than others, and some are crispy, which is a putatively extra-firmness phenotype that provides a distinct eating experience. In this review, we summarized important studies addressing the firmness trait in blueberry, focusing on physiological and molecular changes affecting this trait at the onset of ripening and also the genetic basis of firmness variation across individuals. New insights into these topics were also achieved by using previously available data and historical records from the blueberry breeding program at the University of Florida. The complex quantitative nature of firmness in an autopolyploid species such as blueberry imposes additional challenges for the implementation of molecular techniques in breeding. However, we highlighted some recent genomics-based studies and the potential of a QTL (Quantitative Trait Locus) mapping analysis and genome editing protocols such as CRISPR/Cas9 to further assist and accelerate the breeding process for this important trait. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Berry Crop Production and Protection) Printed Edition available
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