A research team from the University of Huelva (UHU) has identified the cultivation factors obtained by strawberries with better properties and flavor, after relating the quality of these red fruits, based on sensory indicators such as sweetness, aroma or shape. of the fruit, with nutritional indicators provided by its chemical composition.
HUELVA, 27 (EUROPA PRESS)
According to the Discover Foundation explains in a press release, the researchers analyze the genetics, the environmental temperature, the climate, the soil where this fruit is grown, as well as the time of year in which it is harvested, and with these data they foresee the properties that the strawberry will obtain before its cultivation. The results can be applied to trace their origins and as a resource to optimize production based on the interests of the farmer.
In the article ‘Multichemical profiling of strawberry as a traceability tool to investigate the effect of cultivar and cultivation conditions’, published in the journal ‘Foods’, the research group defines the chemical composition of each of the types of strawberry they have analyzed and they conclude that higher amounts of water and temperature, depending on the harvest season, will determine that the strawberry is richer in polyphenols, compounds that are beneficial for their antioxidant function.
“We compared different cultivar varieties and types of strawberries. We have verified how their composition changed depending on climatic factors such as temperature, solar radiation or rainfall, and factors related to the strawberry variety, the cultivation and the time of year in which to be harvested, “says Huelva researcher María Ángeles Fernández Recamales.
The experts have applied analytical and statistical techniques for two consecutive years, analyzing the chemical composition of more than 60 samples of different strawberry varieties, specifically Aromas, Camarosa, Diamante, Medina and Ventana.
When comparing these strawberries with their corresponding genetic identity, grown in soilless systems and collected at different times of the year, they have verified how their sensory qualities change and have been able to correlate them with the existing climatic conditions in each campaign.
PHYSICAL AND NUTRITIONAL CHARACTERISTICS
As they expose in their work, the data that they extract from the chemical composition of strawberries can establish, among other issues, the amount of sugars that will influence the flavor of the fruit; anthocyanin levels, involved in the intensity of the color of the fruit; or the levels of polyphenols, which have antioxidant properties and, therefore, are beneficial for health.
Through chemical analysis, they identified, for example, that the Camarosa and Ventana varieties have the best nutritional qualities, while Aromas and Ventana are the types with a more intense and brighter color. “With the results of this work, the farmer can choose what properties he wants his strawberries to have and guide himself to cultivate them in optimal conditions,” says the researcher from Huelva.
The study participants also point out advantages when evaluating the food security of their production process, so that they use their analyzes to track the fruit from its soil of origin until it reaches the table, guaranteeing its quality. .
In their subsequent projects, the research team will consider whether with this methodology they can find specific qualities in the fruit depending on the geographical area of origin. “At a given moment we could know the origin of the strawberry and establish differences between the qualities of those from Huelva compared to those of other countries such as Turkey or Morocco,” says the expert.
This research has been financed with the own funds of the group ‘Agri-food analysis, health and circular economy’ of the University of Huelva.