Production and improvement of small fruit crops native to Newfoundland and Labrador


Debnath, S.C., McKenzie, B.D., Bishop, G.A., Dixon, P., Siow, Y.L. and Simms, D. (2016). “Production and improvement of small fruit crops native to Newfoundland and Labrador.”, Symposium Program Book, 3rd Biennial Symposium: Our Food, Our Future – Research that Feeds Newfoundland and Labrador, November 02-03, 2016, St. John’s, NL, Canada; p. 13 (

Plain language summary

This is a conference presentation updating the research at St. John's Research and Development Centre, NL, Canada. It deals with production and protection of berry crops (blueberry, lingonberry and cranberry.


Commercially important fruit crops native to Newfoundland and Labrador include lowbush blueberry (Vaccinium spp. L.), cranberry (V. macrocarpon Ait.) and partridgeberry or lingonberry (V. vitis-idaea. L.). Consumption of these fruits is believed to have important therapeutic values, including anti-tumor, anti-ulcer, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. Wildberry production systems are changing to a more intensive cultivated system. This leads to an urgent need to develop new techniques for selecting and establishing high-yielding, insect tolerant small fruit crops which are well-adapted to diverse biotic and abiotic conditions in Newfoundland and Labrador. The presentation focuses on: wild berry germplasm collection, characterization, maintenance and their utilization in hybrid development; sustainable crop production systems including the use of bioinoculants and organic fertilizer; and integrated pest management. Bioreactor micropropagation in a liquid medium has been developed/improved for berry crops. The total phenolic and oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) of blueberry tissue culture plants and of wild clones and cultivars of blueberries and cranberries were estimated. Hybrids obtained through crossing between half-high/highbush and lowbush blueberry genotypes and between Canadian and European lingonberries are being evaluated for frost, drought and pest resistance under greenhouse and field conditions. ‘MF-1.3’ isolated from lowbush blueberry roots was identified as a strain of Penicillium decumbens Thom. which might be a potential beneficial bioinoculant. In a field trial with cranberry wild clones and cultivars, effects of organic and inorganic fertilizers are being studied for quality fruit production and adaptability.