CHARACTERIZATION OF Ribes nigrum L. FRUIT QUALITY IN RELATION TO FRUIT MATURITY, GENOTYPE AND GROWING LOCATION
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Two separate studies were conducted on Prince Edward Island to determine how fruit cultivar and harvest timing can influence black currant berry quality during organic production. The overall goal of both studies was to characterize these influences and to recommend cultivars and harvest timings for achieving optimum quality across different black currant cultivars including berry size, acidity, total soluble solids and the distribution of biologically active compounds. In 2012, there was an interaction effect (cultivar x harvest timing) on berry size, total soluble solids (oBrix), cyanidin 3-0-glucoside and delphinidin 3-0-glucoside. Overall, Whistler and Ben Sarek had larger berry size compared to Titania, Ben Tirran and Ben Alder. Titania total soluble solids, total antioxidant capacity and total anthocyanin content increased as currants were left on the bush but sample berry size decreased. Titania currants reached peak oBrix between 10 to 18 days after currants turned black. Whistler had the highest total soluble solids when compared to Ben Sarek and Ben Alder in 2011. Overall, Whistler had less titratable acidity compared to other cultivars. No cultivar recommendation can be made for optimizing antioxidant capacity, anthocyanin content or phenolic content because the cultivar effect was only present during the 2012 field season.