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Dehydrin, alcohol dehydrogenase, and central metabolite levels are associated with cold tolerance in diploid strawberry (Fragaria spp.)


The use of artificial freezing tests, identification of biomarkers linked to or directly involved in the low-temperature tolerance processes, could prove useful in applied strawberry breeding. This study was conducted to identify genotypes of diploid strawberry that differ in their tolerance to low-temperature stress and to investigate whether a set of candidate proteins and metabolites correlate with the level of tolerance. 17 Fragaria vesca, 2 F. nilgerrensis, 2 F. nubicola, and 1 F. pentaphylla genotypes were evaluated for low-temperature tolerance. Estimates of temperatures where 50 % of the plants survived (LT50) ranged from −4.7 to −12.0 °C between the genotypes. Among the F. vesca genotypes, the LT50 varied from −7.7 °C to −12.0 °C. Among the most tolerant were three F. vesca ssp. bracteata genotypes (FDP821, NCGR424, and NCGR502), while a F. vesca ssp. californica genotype (FDP817) was the least tolerant (LT50 −7.7 °C). Alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH), total dehydrin expression, and content of central metabolism constituents were assayed in select plants acclimated at 2 °C. The LT50 estimates and the expression of ADH and total dehydrins were highly correlated (r adh = −0.87, r dehyd = −0.82). Compounds related to the citric acid cycle were quantified in the leaves during acclimation. While several sugars and acids were significantly correlated to the LT50 estimates early in the acclimation period, only galactinol proved to be a good LT50 predictor after 28 days of acclimation (r galact = 0.79). It is concluded that ADH, dehydrins, and galactinol show great potential to serve as biomarkers for cold tolerance in diploid strawberry.

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Abscisic acid


Alcohol dehydrogenase


C-repeat/dehydration responsive element binding factor


Fragaria diploid project


Gas chromatography and mass spectrometry

LT50 :

Temperature where 50 % of the plants are killed


National Clonal Germplasm Repository


Principal component analyses


Photosynthetic photon flux density


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This work was supported by the Norwegian Research Council (RCN) grant No. 199554 (BiP, user-driven innovation awarded to Muath Alsheikh; Graminor Breeding Ltd.). Support from Graminor AS, Norwegian Institute for Agricultural and Environmental Research and Hedmark University College is also greatly acknowledged. Support was also provided by an International Development Fund (IDF) grant awarded by IUPUI to Stephen K. Randall. We thank the National Clonal Germplasm Repository (NCGR), USA, and East Malling Research (EMR), UK, for providing the seeds. Anne Langerud and Ragnhild Sween provided excellent technical assistance with plant maintenance and for performing the low-temperature experiments.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Jahn Davik.

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Davik, J., Koehler, G., From, B. et al. Dehydrin, alcohol dehydrogenase, and central metabolite levels are associated with cold tolerance in diploid strawberry (Fragaria spp.). Planta 237, 265–277 (2013).

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  • Galactinol
  • Hierarchical clustering
  • Lethal temperature 50
  • Metabolite profiling
  • Raffinose pathway
  • Survival analysis