Company to develop varieties that combine unique flavour of Japanese strawberries with transportability and disease resistance

Sakata Seed Corporation has announced plans to develop F1 seed strawberry varieties suitable for greenhouse cultivation.

Sakata Seeds strawberries

Japanese strawberry varieties are highly praised internationally for their delicious flavour. But they are also characterised by their softness, which creates issues in regard to shelf-life and transportability. Furthermore, diseases that are likely to cause problems during cultivation vary by region.

Sakata said it wants to breed strawberry varieties which balance outstanding flavour unique to Japanese strawberries and transportability, and which possess disease resistance required in areas where they are grown.

In 2017 the company won the permission to sell seeds and seedlings of Yotsuboshi, an F1 seed strawberry developed by Mie Prefecture, Kagawa Prefecture, Chiba Prefecture and Kyushu Okinawa Agricultural Research Center, and sold it mainly in Canada and the US, giving it insight into the demand in each region.

Conventionally, many vegetative varieties of strawberries propagated from parent plants have been used around the world. But according to Sakata there are three main issues with this method.

Firstly, it requires a lot of effort to manage the parent plant and collect the young plants; secondly, there is the risk of disease infection from the parent plant, and finally, there are restrictions on the season of transplanting young plants.

To solve these problems, Sakata is working to develop F1 seed strawberry varieties (ever bearing) that can be raised from seeds. Trial production has already started on a global scale.

“In order to further accelerate the movement toward commercialisation, we have recently started an activity that unifies research, production, and sales,” the company said. “Our entire company will work toward the commercialisation of our F1 seed strawberry business.”