The majority of cultivated strawberries (Fragaria × ananassa) in the northern United States (US) and Canadian provinces is grown in perennial matted rows across a range of soil types and microclimates. Management practices vary in fertilization rates, intensity of pesticide use, and the source of inputs depending on grower preferences. The objective of this study was to identify environmental and management factors that influence strawberry flavor attributes across a range of production systems.
The cultivar Jewel was selected for its popularity in this region and reputation for excellent flavor. “Jewel” was sampled from regional farms and, concurrently, grown in a controlled field study with different inputs over three years. Soluble solids content (SSC) and titratable acidity (TA) across farms was found to be positively associated with the air temperature differential during fruit ripening. In controlled field studies, yield was correlated positively with total N in the form of synthetic urea, but not with the rate of applied organic nitrogen (N). Despite different levels of soil carbon inputs, N rates, pesticides, and microbial supplements, the fruit quality attributes, including SSC, TA, aromatic volatile concentration, and phenolics were not associated with treatment.
A human sensory evaluation found no perceptible differences in flavor or aroma among contrasting treatments. Our study concludes that growers should invest in temperature management, rather than agricultural inputs, to influence SSC and TA of strawberry.
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Osatuke, A.; Pritts, M. Strawberry Flavor Is Influenced by the Air Temperature Differential during Fruit Development but Not Management Practices. Agronomy 2021, 11, 606. https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy11030606