Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Agriculture, Food and Environment


Plant and Soil Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Douglas D. Archbold


Strawberries are a rich source of polyphenols which contribute to berry color and plant disease resistance, and have been shown to lower the risk of many chronic when consumed. While a considerable body of work exists on the polyphenolic composition of commercial strawberry (Fragaria x ananassa Duch.), less information is available concerning polyphenols in Fragaria vesca, or Alpine strawberry, considered a model system for the Rosaceae family of crop species. The study of natural and genetically-engineered F. vesca mutants with white fruit can provide unique insight into regulation of metabolic flux through the complex branched phenylpropanoid/flavonoid biosynthetic pathway. Thus, the identity and quantity of major phenolic-derived anthocyanins, flavonols, flavan-3-ols, hydroxycinnamic acids, and ellagic acid (EA)-derived compounds, of red-fruited versus white-fruited genotypes of F. vesca and F. x ananassa were compared by high performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. Due to the unknown origin of all but one white-fruited mutant of F. vesca, it was assumed that each resulted from independent mutation events and would exhibit different flavonoid profiles. A total of 27 phenolic-derived compounds were identified. The white genotypes of both species had very low anthocyanin levels. Total content of free EA and its conjugated forms were generally higher in white than in red F. vesca, but were the opposite in F. x ananassa, more in red than in white berries. Differences in content of individual flavonoids and in group totals among the white F. vesca genotypes suggested that they may represent different mutations affecting flavonoid production. Polyphenol profiles of a red and a white cultivar of F. vesca during four fruit developmental stages were determined along with transcriptional analyses of key structural and regulatory genes of the phenylpropanoid/ flavonoid biosynthesis. The final concentration of polyphenolic groups in red versus white F. vesca was due to the differential expression patterns of key pathway genes, especially dihydroflavonol-4-reductase, anthocyanidin synthase, and UDP-glucose-flavonoid-3-O-glucosyltransferase. The efficacy of phenolic compounds were evaluated in an in vitro study for inhibiting growth of Colletotrichum spp. associated with anthracnose fruit rot of strawberry. Only trans-cinnamic, p-coumaric, and ferulic acid inhibited isolates of the pathogen.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

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Fruit Science Commons