Category Archives: Genetics, Breeding, Gene Banks

Cloudberry phytonutrients change with season and cultivar

Seasonal and yearly variation of total polyphenols, total anthocyanins and ellagic acid in different clones of cloudberry (Rubus chamaemorus L.) 2018. Anne Linn Hykkerud1, Eivind Uleberg, Espen Hansen, Marieke Vervoort, Jørgen Mølmann, Inger Martinussen   Journal of Applied Botany and Food Quality 91, 96 – 102 (2018)

Scientists in Norway have done more than any others in cultivating the cloudberry, Rubus chamaemorus. A lot of research on field cultivation as well as cultivar selection have been done in that country. This study continues that research and studies the levels of two phytonutrients: ellagic acid (the most abundant in cloudberry) and total anthocyanin. They examined the content of the berries in four clones, ‘Fjordgull’, ‘Fjellgull’, ‘102’ and ‘306’ growing in  Tromsø 69°39’N 18°57’E.

Interestingly the anthocyanin which are found in small quantities, varied significantly by the seasonal weather patterns. Anthocyanin levels were greatest in cool seasons and lowest when the weather was hot. They also were highest at the beginning of harvest season and lowest at the end and differed also with cultivar. The most important chemical, ellagic acid did not show the same variation with the seasons. Instead, the biggest factor was genetics. The four cultivars tested showed significantly different levels of this chemical, and those levels also varied by year and by harvest time. Berries lose ellagic acid content life harvested after in the season.

The authors concluded that there is a lot that can be done to select for clones of cloudberry with higher levels of these phytonutrients. It also shows how nutrient levels can change drastically from season to season and even within a single season. Lessons for berry pickers? Pick early in the season. 2018. Rubus chamaemorus

 

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Alaska Strawberry History

For anyone interested, here is a short article I wrote a few years ago about the history of strawberry breeding and cultivation in Alaska.      Strawberry history

Strawberry wars

Strawberries have been a passion all over the world for hundreds of years. The story is no different in Alaska where strawberry mania traveled North with the Gold Rush. The attached link is an interesting history of the development of the strawberry with one of the world’s top producers, Driscoll as well as conflicts with public and private breeding interests. It evens mentions Alaska wild strawberries! Driscoll Strawberries conducted some research along with the UAF Georgeson Botanical Garden into strawberry plant production in the 1990s. They were interested in learning if producing the plants at high latitudes would improve yields when the plants were transplanted in southern California and Mexico for fruit production. The results were not positive so they moved on to other ideas. It was interesting working with this private company and learning their research procedures that have since catapulted their patented strawberries into world fame. Anyone who buys strawberries at Safeway or Freddies certainly knows their name. It is also interesting to note that Alaska had the first strawberry breeding program at a U.S. University anywhere! It was begun by Charles Georgeson in the early 1900s. Others certainly have lasted longer, but Alaska was the first! We just can’t seem to get anyone in the State to fund ag research on any level. The Agricultural Experiment Station was THE research and development arm for Alaska farmers, and today it is a shadow of its former self.

The Driscoll Story

 

Origin of the Svalbard Seed Bank

Here is a link to an interview with Cary Fowler and Terry Gros about how the global seed vault originated. The interview is a very interesting history.

https://www.npr.org/player/embed/539005688/539059394“>NPR- Global Seed Vault