Coordinated Effort to Improve Blueberry Genetics

The Vaccinium Coordinated Agricultural Project (VacCAP) is a massive undertaking to identify the ideal blueberry in terms of consumer preferences, shelf life and mechanical harvestability. With over $25 million invested from federal funds, participating institutions and its stakeholders, VacCAP has massive positive implications for the future of blueberry breeding. 

Hosts Kasey Cronquist, president of the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC) and the North American Blueberry Council (NABC), and Rod Cook, industry veteran and the chair of the Blueberry Technology and Innovation Committee, are joined by Massimo Iorizzo, Ph.D., associate professor in the North Carolina State University Department of Horticultural Science; Jim Hancock, Ph.D., professor emeritus at Michigan State University and recent recipient of the NABC Duke Galletta Award; and Patricio Munoz, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Horticultural Sciences Department in the University of Florida.

Register for the Town Hall: 

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“At the end of this project, we’ll have an accurate concept of what consumers really like in a blueberry and we will have developed tools to accurately assess that fruit quality. ” – Jim Hancock, Ph.D.

“We want to understand the relation between the quality and the willingness to buy … the question is, does quality play a role in a consumer paying more for certain blueberry types?”  – Massimo Iorizzo, Ph.D.

“Imagine that you have a new disease … we cannot take 10 or 15 years to develop a new variety, to develop something resistant to the disease. Our growers need a faster response from the breeders. For this project, we hope to develop the resources and the tools to actually make that happen, to be able to react faster than we have been doing it. ”  – Patricio Munoz, Ph.D.

Topics covered include: 

  • Overview of the VacCAP Specialty Crop Research Initiative.
  • What VacCAP hopes to accomplish for blueberry breeding.
  • Current status of the initiative. 
  • How researchers are creating the genome of the ideal blueberry.