New plant breeding technology is being used by the James Hutton Institute to help blueberries thrive in the Scottish climate.
Part of a comprehensive package of research funded by the Scottish Government in environment and agriculture in 2015-2016, the project aims to produce blueberry plants that are more suited to the Scottish climate, helping to provide local options of this healthy fruit which may help manage type 2 diabetes.
Blueberry production in Scotland grew 10 per cent last year as demand continued to increase. Scottish Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said, “Blueberries are an increasingly popular fruit in the UK. Traditionally blueberries are imported to Scotland but this innovative research we are funding is using new technology to develop plants that are more suitable for the Scottish soil and climate as well as helping us to fully understand the health benefits of this fruit.
“Scottish blueberry production is already on the increase and this should help boost local production of this fruit – which is better for the environment and also good news for our economy.”
Dr Julie Graham, part of the James Hutton Institute’s Cell and Molecular Sciences and leader of the blueberry breeding programme commented, “Cutting-edge plant breeding technology is enabling the James Hutton Institute to develop new blueberry cultivars. These cultivars, better suited to Scottish conditions, should enable an increase in the home-grown blueberry crop, which will be of benefit to Scottish soft fruit growers. Long-term funding from the Scottish Government has been instrumental in supporting this research.”
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