Genetics of fruit sensory preferences (AS19003)
What’s it all about?
This investment is exploring current consumer preferences, purchasing and consumption patterns and the part that fruit sensory qualities (such as taste, smell, look and feel) contribute to these behaviours. This information will be used to enhance the delivery of breeding programs, ensuring that they are working to improve varieties for both the producer and the consumer.
The underlying biological contributors to these sensory qualities will be profiled and the genetics of each explored, with this information funnelled into levy-funded breeding programs such as mango, papaya, pineapple and strawberry.
These insights will allow the co-development of consumer and producer-related traits, adding efficiency to these programs and allowing them to deliver superior varieties to market sooner. By identifying new opportunities for premium or niche varieties of produce, this may add substantial value to some industries.
Over the past six months PhD student recruitment had been finalised for most of the PhD projects proposed and project planning has commenced with the students.
Crop-specific plans were made for the coming year, including selection of varieties for sensory panels, phenotyping experiments and planning of crop-specific workshops. Crop-specific meetings were held for papaya and pineapple and sensory evaluation of pineapple, mango and papaya were undertaken during this period.
Flavour volatile analysis and/or non-volatile compositional analysis is now underway for pineapple, mango, strawberry and papaya. Planning for genomics activities have commenced for papaya.
It was an active period with a number of outputs including conference publications (e.g. TropAg 2022 and The 19th International Symposium on Carotenoids), refereed publications (e.g. on pineapple flavour compounds and on bioeconomic modelling of value chain stakeholder preferences) and several industry journal write-ups including Mango Matters and Food Australia.
Over the past six months, PhD student recruitment has been finalised for most of the PhD projects proposed and planning has commenced with the students.
Crop-specific plans have been made for 2023, including selection of varieties for sensory panels and phenotyping experiments and planning of crop-specific workshops.
The development of new varieties is a balancing act, delivering selections with high consumer appeal as well as improved characteristics for producers. This project seeks to understand current consumer preferences, purchasing and consumption patterns and the part that fruit sensory qualities (taste, smell, look and feel) contribute to these behaviours.
The underlying biological contributors to these sensory qualities will be profiled and the genetics of each explored and developed into a suite of tools that can be implemented into active mango, papaya, pineapple and strawberry breeding programs. This will allow the co-development of consumer and producer related traits, adding efficiency to these programs and delivering superior varieties to market sooner. Along the way, new opportunities for premium or niche varieties may add substantial value to industries currently worth almost $670 million annually.
Over the last six months Hort Innovation, Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, University of Queensland and Griffith University have worked together to establish a project management team with key representatives from each organisation, as well as intra-organisational teams. A two-day kick-off meeting with all participants was held on 8-9 November 2021 with the plant breeders (strawberry, pineapple, mango and papaya) and included Cathy Nock from Southern Cross University (passionfruit).
The projects for the proposed PhD students have been advertised, and three ongoing PhD students who are working on topics that align closely to this project have produced valuable scientific knowledge and methods that will inform this project.