Yield and quality of strawberry hybrids under subtropical conditions
Strawberry (Fragaria x ananassa) stands out among small fruits as the most planted in Brazil, generating considerable income and employment. However, producers are dependent on cultivars originating from international breeding programs and imported seedlings. This entails high costs and plants poorly adapted to the edaphoclimatic conditions of Brazil. In addition, the consumer market demands superior organoleptic and nutritional qualities. We assessed the potential of 194 hybrids for production and physicochemical characteristics from a population of seedlings obtained from intraspecific crosses of the short-day cultivars Dover, Camarosa, Sweet Charlie, Oso Grande, Milsei Tudla, and Festival Florida and the day-neutral cultivar Aromas. The experimental design was an augmented block design that had as control treatments the cultivars Camarosa and Camino Real. Five production and nine physicochemical characteristics were assessed. The mean comparison was performed by the Dunnett test. Among the 14 characteristics analyzed, eight presented significance. The significant production characteristics were the number of commercial fruits, mass of commercial fruits, mass of non-commercial fruits, and the total mass of fruits, with values of 45.03 fruits/plant, 13.17 g, 72.22 g/plant, and 720.77 g/plant, respectively. The physicochemical characteristics that varied significantly were soluble solids to titratable acidity ratio, pectin, ascorbic acid, and anthocyanin, which presented values of 10.23, 2.06 g total pectin/100 g pulp, 71.12 mg ascorbic acid/100 g pulp, and 39.51 mg cyanidin 3-glycoside/100 g pulp, respectively. The crosses that involved Camarosa and Aromas gave a greater number of hybrids with superior positive effects when compared to the controls in terms of production and physicochemical characteristics, respectively. Among the 194 hybrids, 30 were superior to the controls and were selected to advance in the breeding program.