Advances in Blueberry Research

A special issue of Plants (ISSN 2223-7747). This special issue belongs to the section "Horticultural Science and Ornamental Plants".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2023) | Viewed by 7925

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Guiliang Tang
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biological Sciences, Life Science and Technology Institute, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI 49931, USA
Interests: genetic improvement of blueberries; MicroRNA technologies
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
College of Plant Science, Jilin University, Changchun 130062, China
Interests: regulation of blueberry fruit development and maturation; functions of noncoding rna; tree genetics and breeding; evolutionary biology
Chongqing Key Laboratory of Plant Resource Conservation and Germplasm Innovation, Integrative Science Center of Germplasm Creation in Western China (Chongqing) Science City, School of Life Sciences, Southwest University, Chongqing, 400715, China
Interests: tree genetics and breeding; evolutionary biology
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Blueberry (Vaccinium ssp.) belongs to the genus Vaccinium in the Ericaceae family. It is a major fruit crop grown worldwide, especially in the United States. The blueberry fruit is a nutrient-rich food containing anthocyanins, other antioxidant pigments, and other phytochemicals, which greatly promote human health such as improvement of vision, blood glucose balance, elimination of free radicals, aging delay, inhibition of obesity and hyperlipidemia, and prevention of cardiovascular diseases. However, there is limited information available regarding germplasm resources, genetics, functional genomics, phenomics, transcriptomics, metabolomics, and pharmacology of this fruit plant.

This Special Issue aims to bring forward the latest research in blueberry in multiple disciplines, to improve fruit yield, nutritional quality, and stress tolerance and prevent diseases. All types of original papers, such as original research articles and reviews, are welcome.

Dr. Guiliang Tang
Dr. Shaomin Bian
Dr. Ting Lan
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2700 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • breeding
  • genetics
  • epigenetics
  • genomics
  • evolution
  • blueberry fruit composition and quality
  • nutrition, diseases, and health

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

19 pages, 5738 KiB  
Article
Rain Cover and Netting Materials Differentially Affect Fruit Yield and Quality Traits in Two Highbush Blueberry Cultivars via Changes in Sunlight and Temperature Conditions
Plants 2023, 12(20), 3556; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12203556 - 13 Oct 2023
Viewed by 667
Abstract
The use of covers to protect blueberry orchards from adverse weather events has increased due to the variability in climate patterns, but the effects of rain covers and netting materials on yield and fruit quality have not been studied yet. This research evaluated [...] Read more.
The use of covers to protect blueberry orchards from adverse weather events has increased due to the variability in climate patterns, but the effects of rain covers and netting materials on yield and fruit quality have not been studied yet. This research evaluated the simultaneous effect of an LDPE plastic cover, a woven cover, and netting material on environmental components (UV light, PAR, NIR, and growing degree days (GDDs)), plant performance (light interception, leaf area index, LAI, yield, and flower development), and fruit quality traits (firmness, total soluble solids, and acidity) in two blueberry cultivars. On average, UV transmission under the netting was 11% and 43% higher compared to that under woven and LDPE plastic covers, while NIR transmission was 8–13% higher with both types of rain covers, with an increase in fruit air temperature and GDDs. Yield was 27% higher under the woven cover with respect to netting, but fruit firmness values under the netting were 12% higher than those of the LDPE plastic cover. Light interception, LAI, and flower development explained 64% (p = 0.0052) of the yield variation due to the cover material’s effect. The obtained results suggest that the type of cover differentially affects yield and fruit quality in blueberries due to the specific light and temperature conditions generated under these materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Blueberry Research)
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13 pages, 4074 KiB  
Article
An Efficient Transformation System for Fast Production of VcCHS Transgenic Blueberry Callus and Its Expressional Analysis
Plants 2023, 12(16), 2905; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12162905 - 09 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1545
Abstract
The Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation for blueberries remains less efficient than is desirable. A new leaf callus regeneration and genetic transformation system was investigated in blueberries in this study. The leaf explants of cv. ‘Legacy’ and ‘Northland’ were used to establish the stable callus [...] Read more.
The Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation for blueberries remains less efficient than is desirable. A new leaf callus regeneration and genetic transformation system was investigated in blueberries in this study. The leaf explants of cv. ‘Legacy’ and ‘Northland’ were used to establish the stable callus induction system when placed on the woody plant medium (WPM) supplemented with 1.0 mg·L−1 2, 4-D, 0.4 mg·L−1 6-BA for 30 d; then, the callus was sub-cultured in the proliferation medium supplemented with 1.5 mg·L−1 2, 4-D, 0.4 mg·L−1 6-BA in the darkness at 25 °C every 30 days. The co-cultivation of callus with A. tumefaciens was operated on WPM plus 100 μM acetosyringone for 4 days; then, the transferred callus was grown in WPM supplemented with 1.5 mg·L−1 2,4-D, 0.4 mg·L−1 6-BA, 50 mg·L−1 hygromycin, and 200 mg·L−1 cefotaxime. The VcCHS transgenic blueberry callus with both GFP signal and Hyg resistance was obtained from the transformed callus of cv. ‘Northland’. The rate of GFP signal detected in the transformed callus was as high as 49.02%, which was consistent with the PCR assay. Collectively, this study provides a highly efficient genetic transformation system in blueberry callus and a powerful approach for the molecular breeding of blueberries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Blueberry Research)
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17 pages, 3178 KiB  
Article
A Study of the Molecular Regulatory Network of VcTCP18 during Blueberry Bud Dormancy
Plants 2023, 12(14), 2595; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12142595 - 09 Jul 2023
Viewed by 848
Abstract
BRANCHED1 (BRC1) is a crucial member of the TEOSINTE BRANCHED1/CYCLOIDEA/PCF (TCP) gene family and is well known for playing a central role in shoot branching by controlling buds’ paradormancy. However, the expression characteristics and molecular regulatory mechanism of BRC1 during blueberry [...] Read more.
BRANCHED1 (BRC1) is a crucial member of the TEOSINTE BRANCHED1/CYCLOIDEA/PCF (TCP) gene family and is well known for playing a central role in shoot branching by controlling buds’ paradormancy. However, the expression characteristics and molecular regulatory mechanism of BRC1 during blueberry bud dormancy are unclear. To shed light on these topics, shoots of three blueberry cultivars with different chilling requirements (CRs) were decapitated in summer to induce paradormancy release and subjected to different levels of chilling in winter to induce endodormancy release. The results showed that the high-CR cultivar ‘Chandler’ had the strongest apical dominance among the three cultivars; additionally, the expression of VcTCP18, which is homologous to BRC1, was the highest under both the decapitation treatment and low-temperature treatment. The ‘Emerald’ cultivar, with a low CR, demonstrated the opposite trend. These findings suggest that VcTCP18 plays a negative regulatory role in bud break and that there may be a correlation between the CR and tree shape. Through yeast 1-hybrid (Y1H) assays, we finally screened 21 upstream regulatory genes, including eight transcription factors: zinc-finger homeodomain protein 1/4/5/9, MYB4, AP2-like ethylene-responsive transcription factor AINTEGUMENTA (ANT), ASIL2-like, and bHLH035. It was found that these upstream regulatory genes positively or negatively regulated the expression of VcTCP18 based on the transcriptome expression profile. In summary, this study enriched our understanding of the regulatory network of BRCl during bud dormancy and provided new insights into the function of BRC1. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Blueberry Research)
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21 pages, 6228 KiB  
Article
Genome-Wide Identification and Analysis of the MADS-Box Transcription Factor Genes in Blueberry (Vaccinium spp.) and Their Expression Pattern during Fruit Ripening
Plants 2023, 12(7), 1424; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12071424 - 23 Mar 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1397
Abstract
MADS-box is a class of transcriptional regulators that are ubiquitous in plants and plays important roles in the process of plant growth and development. Identification and analysis of blueberry MADS-box genes can lay a foundation for their function investigations. In the present study, [...] Read more.
MADS-box is a class of transcriptional regulators that are ubiquitous in plants and plays important roles in the process of plant growth and development. Identification and analysis of blueberry MADS-box genes can lay a foundation for their function investigations. In the present study, 249 putative MADS-box genes were identified in the blueberry genome. Those MADS-box genes were distributed on 47 out of 48 chromosomes. The phylogenetic and evolutionary analyses showed that blueberry MADS-box genes were divided into 131 type I members and 118 type II members. The type I genes contained an average of 1.89 exons and the type II genes contained an average of 7.83 exons. Motif analysis identified 15 conserved motifs, of which 4 were related to the MADS domain and 3 were related to the K-box domain. A variety of cis-acting elements were found in the promoter region of the blueberry MADS-box gene, indicating that the MADS-box gene responded to various hormones and environmental alterations. A total of 243 collinear gene pairs were identified, most of which had a Ka/Ks value of less than 1. Nine genes belonging to SEP, AP3/PI, and AGL6 subfamilies were screened based on transcriptomic data. The expression patterns of those nine genes were also verified using quantitative PCR, suggesting that VcMADS6, VcMADS35, VcMADS44, VcMADS58, VcMADS125, VcMADS188, and VcMADS212 had potential functions in blueberry fruit ripening. The results of this study provide references for an in-depth understanding of the biological function of the blueberry MADS-box genes and the mechanism of blueberry fruit ripening. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Blueberry Research)
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23 pages, 3199 KiB  
Article
Trait Mapping of Phenolic Acids in an Interspecific (Vaccinium corymbosum var. caesariense × V. darrowii) Diploid Blueberry Population
Plants 2023, 12(6), 1346; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12061346 - 16 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1249
Abstract
Blueberries (Vaccinium sect. Cyanococcus) are a dietary source of phenolic acids, including chlorogenic acid (CGA) and related compounds such as acetylated caffeoylquinic acid (ACQA) and caffeoylarbutin (CA). These compounds are known to be potent antioxidants with potential health benefits. While the [...] Read more.
Blueberries (Vaccinium sect. Cyanococcus) are a dietary source of phenolic acids, including chlorogenic acid (CGA) and related compounds such as acetylated caffeoylquinic acid (ACQA) and caffeoylarbutin (CA). These compounds are known to be potent antioxidants with potential health benefits. While the chemistry of these compounds has been extensively studied, the genetic analysis has lagged behind. Understanding the genetic basis for traits with potential health implications may be of great use in plant breeding. By characterizing genetic variation related to fruit chemistry, breeders can make more efficient use of plant diversity to develop new cultivars with higher concentrations of these potentially beneficial compounds. Using a large interspecific F1 population, developed from a cross between the temperate V. corymbosum var. ceasariense and the subtropical V. darrowii, with 1025 individuals genotyped using genotype-by-sequencing methods, of which 289 were phenotyped for phenolic acid content, with data collected across 2019 and 2020, we have identified loci associated with phenolic acid content. Loci for the compounds clustered on the proximal arm of Vc02, suggesting that a single gene or several closely associated genes are responsible for the biosynthesis of all four tested compounds. Within this region are multiple gene models similar to hydroxycinnamoyl CoA shikimate/quinate hydroxycinnamoyltransferase (HCT) and UDP glucose:cinnamate glucosyl transferase (UGCT), genes known to be involved in the CGA biosynthesis pathway. Additional loci on Vc07 and Vc12 were associated with caffeoylarbutin content, suggesting a more complicated biosynthesis of that compound. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Blueberry Research)
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12 pages, 644 KiB  
Article
Leaf Tissue Macronutrient Standards for Northern Highbush Blueberry Grown in Contrasting Environments
Plants 2022, 11(23), 3376; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11233376 - 05 Dec 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1374
Abstract
Leaf tissue testing is a useful tool for monitoring nutrient requirements in northern highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum L.; abbreviated as “blueberry”) but may require adaptation to specific growing environments. The objective of this study was to evaluate macronutrient concentrations in early-, mid-, [...] Read more.
Leaf tissue testing is a useful tool for monitoring nutrient requirements in northern highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum L.; abbreviated as “blueberry”) but may require adaptation to specific growing environments. The objective of this study was to evaluate macronutrient concentrations in early-, mid-, and late-season blueberry cultivars grown in two contrasting environments, specifically eastern and western Washington. Climate and soil conditions between these two regions differ tremendously with eastern Washington being more arid with naturally calcareous soils lower in soil organic matter. Sampling was conducted over a 3-year period in commercial fields. Leaf tissue nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg) and sulfur (S) concentrations were affected by year (Y), growing region (R), cultivar (C), and Day of Year (DOY) that the samples were collected with many interactions. Leaf nutrient concentrations were higher, on average, in western than eastern Washington except for Ca and Mg, indicating sufficiency levels should differ between these regions. Leaf macronutrients generally stabilized between DOY 212–243 (1–31 August), suggesting this period is optimal for tissue sampling. Findings from this study demonstrate the importance of considering regional effects and may be applicable for blueberry cultivated in similar pedo-climactic conditions around the world. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Blueberry Research)
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