Fruit transpirational water loss in blueberry is affected by stem scar size and cuticular waxes

Fecha de publicación: 10/06/2022
Fuente: ISHS (International Society for Horticultural Science)
Post date: Friday 10 June 2022
ISHS Secretariat

Yifan Yan is a PhD student in Wine Research Centre at the University of British Columbia, Canada, and is supervised by Dr. Simone Castellarin. Her research project focuses on blueberry quality, and particularly on aspects related to berry water loss during postharvest and berry pigmentation. North America is the largest producer of blueberries. British Columbia (BC) produces more than 95% of the highbush blueberries in Canada. In the past two decades, the main breeding targets for blueberries have shifted from increasing yield only to both increasing yield and improving quality. Yan’s research is conducted in collaboration with the BC Blueberry Council and has the final goal to support the selection of new genotypes of enhanced fruit quality for the fresh market. The three major objectives of Yan’s research are i) to determine the role of cuticular waxes and the stem scar on blueberry dehydration during postharvest; ii) to assess the role of cuticular waxes in determining blueberry fruit surface color in addition to the presence of anthocyanins; iii) to understand the hormonal regulation of blueberry wax deposition and identify the major genes controlling the wax profiles. Three independent experiments were conducted to achieve these objectives. This report presents the first experiment which was published as a full manuscript entitled “Blueberry water loss is related to both cuticular wax composition and stem scar size”. Postharvest fruit dehydration is a major concern for blueberry breeders and growers. It accelerates fruit softening and results in a great loss of marketability. Fruit dehydration occurs through at least two pathways in mature blueberries – the cuticle and the stem scar. Yan’s study determined that the cuticle contributes more than the stem scar to the overall blueberry dehydration. The chemical composition of the cuticular waxes is critical in influencing fruit dehydration. A higher level of the triterpene acid oleanolic acid is associated with a lower dehydration rate, while a higher level of wax esters is associated with a higher dehydration rate. Within the same variety, fruits with a smaller stem scar size have a lower dehydration rate, but this relationship is not found when comparing across varieties, suggesting a potential role of other physiological aspects (e.g., the permeability of the stem scar to water) in fruit dehydration.
Yifan Yan won the ISHS Young Minds Award for the best oral presentation at the XII International Vaccinium Symposium, which was held virtually in Canada in August 2021.
Yifan Yan, Wine Research Centre, the University of British Columbia, 2205 East Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T1Z4, Canada, e-mail:
The article is available in Chronica Horticulturae
Tags: vacciniumCategories: Young Minds Award Winners