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3063Re: [beemonitoring] Re: [Pollinator] pollination improves strawberry shelf life

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  • Peter Bernhardt
    Dec 4, 2013
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      Very interesting, Lisa and good. luck on this upcoming experiment.  It's very appropriate you are conducting it in Virginia.  Presumably the wild species (and co-parent of today's supermarket strawberries) was first collected in Virginia.   Fragaria virginiana is the ancestral co-parent of all supermarket strawberries with F. chiloensis.    

      Will you have a biochemist comparing sugars and fragrances in your ripe strawberries?  The only thing I don't care for at all in the last Abstract was the unhappy news that bee-pollinated strawberries produced fruit with lower sugar levels.  Now, does anyone really, really, really want to eat odorless, stiff and less sweet strawberries just because they were bee-pollinated?  We've all been to restaurants or buffets in which they are the color of glistening rubies but they're "tough" and insipid.

      Peter  


      On Wed, Dec 4, 2013 at 12:27 PM, Lisa Horth <lisahorth@...> wrote:
      Peter and all others interested.....

      We may be able to answer that very soon. We based a recently funded grant, in-part, on the selfing vs insect pollinated data for strawberries. This spring we will use mason bees to pollinate (hopefully!) strawberries on farms in VA. The farmers typically use honey bees, so we hope to have comparative data to answer this question by fall.

      Lisa Horth



      On Wed, Dec 4, 2013 at 1:18 PM, Peter Bernhardt <bernhap2@...> wrote:
       

      Dear David:

      Thanks for finding this paper.  One of the next papers of the Bernhardt/Meier lab  will address fieldwork on bee-pollination of Cypripedium montanum (Oregon) but, at one of our sites, the orchids bloomed at the same time as two, extensive populations of native strawberry varieties.  The orchid and the strawberry flowers shared pollinators in the families Andrenidae and Halictidae.  

      Considering the physical size of strawberry flowers one wonders whether cross-pollinated fruit set in domesticated strawberries would be higher when pollinated by small, native bees or by commercial honeybees?  Do honeybees carrying pollen "hit" the tiny stigmas in each flower as often and as thoroughly as tiny, solitary bees?

      Peter


      On Wed, Dec 4, 2013 at 11:10 AM, David Inouye <inouye@...> wrote:
      Klatt, B. K., et al. (2014). "Bee pollination improves crop quality, shelf life and commercial value." Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 281(1775).

               Pollination improves the yield of most crop species and contributes to one-third of global crop production, but comprehensive benefits including crop quality are still unknown. Hence, pollination is underestimated by international policies, which is particularly alarming in times of agricultural intensification and diminishing pollination services. In this study, exclusion experiments with strawberries showed bee pollination to improve fruit quality, quantity and market value compared with wind and self-pollination. Bee-pollinated fruits were heavier, had less malformations and reached higher commercial grades. They had increased redness and reduced sugar and were firmer, thus improving the commercially important shelf life. Longer shelf life reduced fruit loss by at least 11%. This is accounting for 0.32 billion US$ of the 1.44 billion US$ provided by bee pollination to the total value of 2.90 billion US$ made with strawberry selling in the European Union 2009. The fruit quality and yield effects are driven by the pollination-mediated production of hormonal growth regulators, which occur in several pollination-dependent crops. Thus, our comprehensive findings should be transferable to a wide range of crops and demonstrate bee pollination to be a hitherto underestimated but vital and economically important determinant of fruit quality.


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      --
      Lisa Horth, PhD
      Associate Professor
      Dept of Biological Science
      Old Dominion University
      Norfolk, VA 23529

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