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Sustainable Production and Processing Research for Lowbush Specialty Crop, ME


Objective is to provide scientifically valid information to wild blueberry growers so that they may develop effective Integrated Pest Management programs, develop improved food safety methods and provide health-related information on wild blueberry fruit.

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NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: Conduct research to support viability of a unique wild blueberry industry in an economically disadvantaged area of Maine. Research results will allow wild blueberry growers to compete economically with Canadian wild blueberry and cultivated blueberry crops while maintaining environmental integrity. Health related research will provide additional support for health claims to promote wild blueberries.


APPROACH: <OL> <LI> Evaluate tribenuron methyl for bunchberry control to refine application timing and potential effects on yield; <LI> Test the effectiveness of fungicides for control of Septoria and Valdensinia leaf spot diseases and improve application timing; <LI> Determine the effectiveness of hard-burn for control of Valdensinia and determine sources and methods of spread by determining genetic similarity of DNA isolates; <LI> Field control of blueberry pest insects; <LI> Laboratory insecticide trials on secondary pest insects; <LI> Blueberry maggot control with various insecticides, and evaluation of neo-nicotinoid insecticides and new spinosyn derivatives; <LI> Economic thresholds of blueberry spanworm, blueberry flea beetle, and strawberry rootworm; <LI> Estimate temperature dependent blueberry spanworm egg hatch and caterpillar development; <LI> Construction of a predictive degree-day model for thrips emergence; <LI> Monitor blueberry spanworm and blueberry flea beetle in pruned fields; <LI> Estimate the efficacy of fly-traps to capture blueberry maggot flies; <LI> Biology of parasites of blueberry insect pests; <LI> Pollination studies; <LI> Effects of wild blueberries on young normotensive and spontaneously hypertensive animals regarding arterial vasoconstriction, indices of NO mediated vasorelaxation, nitrotyrosine levels, indices of COX pathway function; <LI> Investigate the ability of wild blueberries to alleviate pathologies associated with the Metabolic Syndrome in the Obese Zucker Rat; <LI> Effect of soil pH adjustment on nutrient uptake, available soil nutrients, plant growth and yield; <LI> Effect of pre-emergent gypsum application on Ca uptake in wild blueberry fruit; <LI> Determine an effective method of stimulating rhizome formation to encourage plant spread into disturbed areas after land leveling; <LI> Study antimicrobial mechanisms of wild blueberry major compounds in controlling human/foodborne pathogens; <LI> Integrate forced air cooling setting and gaseous chlorine dioxide sanitation in post-processing to reduce the microbial load on wild blueberries.

Wu, Vivian; Yarborough, David
University of Maine
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