Keeping quality of seven strawberry cultivars in relation to Botrytis cinerea infection, weight loss, electrolyte leakage, Brix, and proanthocyanidin content

MSc-minor thesis abstract (submitted 29 October 2017): Botrytis cinerea is limiting keeping quality of strawberry. The fungus infects fruits via floral parts, and stays quiescent until fruit ripening.
This research aims to correlate the initial infection and development of B. cinerea during storage of seven strawberry cultivars (Fragaria x ananassa), stored at 8, 12 and 16 degrees Celsius, with other physiological characteristics at post-harvest.

We quantified: (i) weight loss rate; (ii) electrolyte lakage; (iii) the antifungal compounds known as proanthocyanidins; and (iv) Brix index.
Spoilage data were fitted to the sigmoidal model to obtain the intial fection level, the rate constant of mould formation, and keeping quality of strawberry batches.

The rate constant per cultivar was positively correlated to weight loss rate, electrolyte leakge and Brix values at harvest, and negatively correlated to proanthocyanidin content at harvest, though the correlations were not high.

The initial infection of might be linked to local growing conditions.

Keeping quality of the strawberry fruits showed the same pattern of correlations to these characteristics as those with rate constant. Therefore, it is possible to link the model parameters of B. cinerea mould formation with physiological measurements of strawberry, which breeding and cultivar selection programs aiming to improve fruit shelf-life can use as an indicator.

Key words: Botrytis cinerea ; correlation ; cyanidin ; strawberry ;cultivars ; Fragaria x ananassa ; rate constant ; thin layer chromatography ;