'Renaissance' of flavor: portrait of a new European strawberry cultivar
In the history of strawberry breeding, selection for aroma was mainly conducted to avoid untypical flavor notes. The depleted aroma patterns of modern cultivars resulted from fixation on breeding goals like high yield, large, firm and optically attractive fruit. Genetic erosion was clearly demonstrated in comparative studies using old and modern cultivars. Wild species introgression can serve to improve flavor in pedigrees. In this context, chemical and sensory analysis can assist the selection process in strawberry breeding and is essential for a successful selection of highly aromatic genotypes. In the present study, we compared the aroma profiles of three European strawberry cultivars released in 1933, 1975 and 2009 to demonstrate the steady loss of character impact compounds using HS-SPME-GC-FID (and MS identification). Furthermore, we present one clone selection, which is characterized by an aroma profile that was reached by cultivar crossbreeding, and two selections with profiles obtained from wild species introgression with Fragaria chiloensis ssp. lucida in Fz and f3 backcrosses. Obviously, the use of wild species accessions results in quantitatively and qualitatively improved aroma potentials. Such a broadened aroma spectrum in combination with a high brix-acid-ratio has never been found in cultivars and clones originating from cultivar crossbreeding. Backcrossing with modern cultivars resulted in genotypes with a combination of diverse esters as well as high values of linalool and lactones. One of the selected clones was successfully tested for horticultural high-performance traits and for stability over five years. This selection won the comparison with other cultivars and breeding clones in a consumer study and several sensory tests and has a high potential for the processing industry. As a result, it is under application for European Plant Breeders Rights and will be introduced to the market with the designation 'Renaissance'.