Blueberries contain many health-promoting phytochemicals of which anthocyanins have the biggest impact on its health functionality. Anthocyanins function as antioxidants, protecting the body against the damaging effects of free radicals. Environmental factors such as solar radiation, temperature and water stress induce higher accumulation of antioxidants in blueberry and other fruits. The Australian blueberry industry is increasingly using polytunnels to protect blueberry crops and enhance growing conditions through better control of irrigation and fertilisers. However in comparison to the open-field, production within polytunnels has been associated with a reduction in plant stress resilience and fruit antioxidant value. This PhD project is using phenomic, agronomic, physiological and biochemical approaches to assess as well as develop interventions for maximising plant resilience and fruit quality of blueberry under protected cropping.
High-tech indoor horticulture