UF Researchers Use AI To Breed Tastier Strawberries (Southeast Produce Weekly)

UF Researchers Use AI To Breed Tastier Strawberries

University of Florida researchers are showing artificial intelligence can help scientists breed more flavor into fruit.

Consumer panels are the usual method UF researchers use to gauge whether new fruit varieties taste good enough to develop them for the market. But, in the evolving world of AI, a computer can now tell scientists what strawberries taste and smell like — and whether a variety is worth more genetic breeding efforts.

Vance Whitaker, a UF/IFAS associate professor of horticultural sciences, used an algorithm that gives him the ability to predict how a strawberry will taste, based on the chemical constitution of its fruit. The computer method also takes less time than volunteer test panels.

Whitaker published new research in the journal Nature Horticulture Research in which he and his team used taste-test panels and computer technology to identify the volatiles that give strawberries their unique tangy flavor.

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