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Pollination improves commercial value of fruit

Pollination improves commercial value of fruit

Bees play a fundamental role in crop pollination, though the economic value of this ecosystem service is less understood. For nine varieties of strawberries a study in Germany now showed that 98.5% of the pollinators were bees, mostly wild bees (64.6%, Osmia bicornis being most abundant). The commercial value of the fruit was estimated according to EU trade guidelines, considering shape, colour and size. These traits were improved considerably: +38.6% compared to wind pollination and +54.3% compared to self-pollination. Bee-pollinated fruit was also firmer and had a longer shelf-life. The researchers stated that the higher fertilisation rates of seed by bee-pollination stimulated plant hormones that influenced fruit quality. These hormones are known from many other crops, so that these mechanisms may be observed also in further plant species. The full-text article may be downloaded here:

http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/281/1775/20132440

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