Reducing the amount of water needed to grow high quality full flavoured strawberries while at the same time optimising the yield of the crop is now achievable thanks to the work of the new Water Efficient Technologies (WET) Centre, developed at NIAB EMR.
The WET Centre, based at the centre for horticulture and perennial fruit crop research in Kent, has been designed to showcase the latest developments in irrigation management and moisture sensing technologies.
Researchers from Cranfield University and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew have constructed the metabolic fingerprint of British heritage apples and mainstream commercial varieties. This has highlighted the extraordinary phytochemical content of some very old apples, with dates of introduction spanning several centuries.
The results show key metabolites, with enhanced health promoting properties, have gradually been bred out from modern cultivars with the focus instead being on sweetness, crispy texture and appearance.
Timing the harvest and transport of highly perishable, hand-picked crops such as strawberries so these delicate products reach consumers at peak flavor and freshness is an intricate dance that partners Mother Nature with manual labor.
However, many of the “smart farming” techniques and technologies that help growers harvest more of what they sow faster and more efficiently have focused primarily on row crops like corn and soybeans, bypassing growers of high-value fresh produce.
Consuming flavonoid-rich foods such as wild blueberries can have a significant positive effect on young people’s mood, a University of Reading study has found.
In two trials published in Nutrients, children and young people consumed a drink containing wild blueberry or a matched placebo and were asked to rate their mood on a numerical scale before and after the drink. In both trials, participants recorded a significant increase in positive mood after drinking the wild blueberry-infused drink.
An industry consortium, led by Berry Gardens Growers Ltd and NIAB EMR, has won a BBSRC collaborative training partnership (CTP) award to provide a £1.9 million postgraduate programme for scientific research on fruit crops.