A British company has been visiting countries around the world with a view to granting licenses for two new blueberry varieties developed by a breeder in the U.S. state of Oregon.
The commercialisation of the cultivars bred by Oregon Blueberry Farm and Nursery is being handled by Global Plant Genetics, a specialist in intellectual property management of berries and asparagus.
Global Plant Genetics partner and director Rupert Hargreaves spoke with PBUK about the company’s plans to commercialise the varieties named Megasblue and Titanium.
“We represent various breeding programmes around the world, but this particular one is with Oregon Blueberry Farm and Nursery, who has developed these two new varieties and we are going to take charge of the genetic reproduction of the plants and the sales,” he said.
Hargreaves said international marketing activities had just got underway and there had been strong interest from around the world.
“I just returned from Chile, where we had meetings with 19 companies interested in acquiring the licenses for these varieties,” he added.
“In Chile we have closed business with one company who will have an exclusive license, and we have also had meetings in Peru, Argentina and the U.S. over the last three weeks.”
He said the Megasblue variety had a light blue colour and a large, very firm berry.
“Its cold requirements are at least 1,000 cold hours per year and it is harvested mid-season,” he said.
According to Oregon Blueberry Farm, Megasblue produces a consistent yield and can be harvested with machinery. It also requires lower labour input, helping growers to reduce costs.
Titanium, on the other hand, is an early variety harvested around a week after Duke.
“It has a large berry size, similar colour to Megasblue, a “sweet-tart” taste, uniform ripening and “excellent” storage life,” he said, adding it also required at least 1,000 cold hours annually.
In addition, as well as being recommended for the fresh market, Titanium can be used well for IQF (Individual Quick Freezing) processing.
For Hargreaves, this is the first stage of commercialisation, and it still remains to be seen how the varieties will behave in different production regions.
“In the U.S. we have seen some very promising results for these varieties against traditional ones, but still need to see how they perform in other countries,” he said.
In Europe, Global Plant Genetics is planning to commercialise the varieties in the U.K., the Netherlands and Germany, due to the cold hour requirements.
The representative highlighted that new varieties with improved taste and shelf life would play an important role in the future of the industry.
“I think these two factors are the most crucial for the development of blueberries at the international level,” he added.