Economic potential of rock dust-boosted honeyberries to be investigated

A partnership between the James Hutton Institute, a Tayside grower and a supplier of soil remineraliser have jointly been awarded funding to research improved agronomy and hence economic potential of honeyberries.

Image: REMIN
Image: REMIN

It is one of four projects to share a match-funded award of £25,000 from Innovate, a Scottish Government-backed body connecting businesses to Scotland's higher education and research institutes.

JHI will partner in the research with Arbuckles of Invergowrie and Aberdeenshire-based REMIN on the work, which aims to better understand the agronomic requirements of the honeyberry, which Innovate describes as "a potentially lucrative new berry crop to Scotland’s food and drink industry".

"Through studying the crop in conjunction with an innovative organic, Scottish-produced volcanic rock dust fertiliser, this project will enable the partners involved to understand and potentially fully diversify into an exciting new fruit crop," it said.

Arbuckles has already been growing honeyberries for a number of years and has been trialling recent North American varieties which are potentially better suited to machine harvesting, while JHI has already analysed the fruit's phytonutrient content, helping to establish its credentials as a "super-berry".

REMIN's volcanic rock dust is already being used by a commercial raspberry grower in Aberdeenshire.

Interface will launch a second round of funding bids on 12 September 2017 and is inviting proposals from businesses working with academics in the food and drink sectors that will drive innovation and benefit the wider economy.

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