For decades, taste groups and breeding for better taste have existed, being relied upon to guide decisions on which strawberries taste and smell best. This would help steer the breeding requirements for Florida's $300 billion crop.
Now, researchers at the University of Florida are using a new method to create better berries. Artificial intelligence will be used to help determine the varieties that are most likely to produce the berries that consumers love. As data from hundreds of voluntary tasters has been collected, the AI can help match the chemical composition that produces the sweetness and the perfect strawberry aroma.
News.wgcu.org quoted strawberry breeder Dr. Vance Whitaker as saying: “If we want to say which of these aroma chemicals in the strawberry are actually helping boost the sweetness, our older statistical methods have a really hard time doing that but machine learning has an advantage.”
He says knowing what chemicals to breed for makes it more clear what his team, and Florida farmers should plant. Earlier this year Dr. Whitaker's team introduced Florida farmers to the white strawberry, which is gaining in popularity because of its sweet flavor and unique appearance.