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26th Scientific Symposium with International Participation

Project CEEX 20

Sustainable fruit production: from genotype towards environmental protection and human health


1. Introduction - Orientation, directions, priorities

Various professional concerns and research directions with a different development in the research of excellence are shortly presented below. The above concerns as fruit genetics breeding, technologies and nutritional medicine are closely correlated.

From the view point of fruit quality, the fruit appearance and nutritional value are the main factors in choosing the cultivars for an orchard establishment and their marketing. In this sense, the world orientation is clearly to the crop introduction of some high quality genotypes, more disease resistant, and needing a simple and non-polluting technology. The present research level is high both at European and world level and in the past 15 years more than 500 new apple cvs. were breaded. However, only some of these varieties meet the market requirements (Sansavini et. al., 2005).

Small fruits and strawberry crops are extending continuously and new crop zones and cropping systems appear (protected crop, tunnel crop, solar crop, no-soil crop, biological crop). New directions on fruit marketing (natural or nutracentic fruit) developed as well as an increase in the fresh fruit market and the whole year by the fruit import from the South hemisphere. All that has required new quality standards for small fruits and strawberry, stressing the anti-oxidant value of fruit and their beneficial effects on the human health. Romanians have increasingly become aware of the beneficial value of fresh small fruits but the ripening season is rather limited and overlaps on the small fruits in the wild flora. Few cultivars from abroad are adapted to the Romanian soil and climate conditions.

Regarding the propagation of the fruit and ornamental species an improvement of propagation rates for some valuable rootstocks is a major concern in the nursery research (private or governmental), both at home and abroad.

From the view point of phyto-sanitary protection, investigations on the integrated and biological pests and disease management have been developed.

The research objectives approached aspects as; a) cultivar response to the specific phyto-pathogens and pests; b) impact of the cultural techniques on the phyto-sanitary state of orchards and fruit quality; c) a lower impact on the environment by using less toxic pesticides based on copper, sulphur, colloidal clay, mineral oils, vegetal extracts, etc. d) reducing the copper and sulphur amounts applied in the sustainable fruit orchards. Technologies which should protect the environment against pollution have to be used in the Romanian fruit production and the future strategies for fruit tree plantings should be approached in a friendly manner towards the environment, with an integrated weed management and cautions, rational and sustainable utilization of the natural resources.

From the view point of utilizing natural resources it can be said that one of the primordial factor defining fruit production is the sun light. In a CO2 normal-content atmosphere the photosynthesis in orchards reaches the superior threshold at 1/3 to 1/2 of the total light. Thereby, an addition of light exists not being used by plants and that justifies further investigations on light maximization by improving the pruning – canopy shape – training tree system. Any modification in the tree crown structure that multiplies the amount of light penetrating to the vegetation planes inside the crowns to the limit of the photosynthesis formation contributes to an increase in fruit quality and quantity.

Regarding to soil-water-plant, a special importance is given nationally and internationally to water and fertilizer application in orchards as well as to prevent the environmental pollution. However, using of chemicals on a large scale in fruit growing involves an increase in the risk of orchards pollution, specifically for surface water and groundwater, and till 2015 all the European countries should implement the Water Framework Directive. The achievement of these objectives is based in the future, mainly on the intensification of natural resources utilization and on application of some ecological technologies.

The research direction in this sense is that the crop evapotranspiration associated with fertilizer application mainly depend on the existing climate and is a basic parameter in their development. Both nationally and internationally, there are the following directions in optimizing water and nutrients application through fertigation in orchards under the above conditions: 1) amelioration of nutritional processes in fruit trees, 2) adjustment of soil water and separation as accurate as possible of the components of soil water balance, 3) finding technical elements of various irrigation methods associated with fertigation. More than one paper was presented with regard to the way of extension for the fruit preservation period in order to market more fresh fruits by applying some substances like bicarbonates, as well as preservation methods through application of bio-regulators and specifically giberelines. The extension of the fruit preservation period can not be achieved without a prior knowledge on diseases occurring during the pre and post harvesting period.

From the view point of the nutritional value, fruits play an important role in the human balanced nutrition through their active principles, and in some cases are often valuable for the allopathic medication in some chronic disease treatments. As a consequence, investigations have been carried out both nationally and internationally to inventorize the organic substances contained by fruits as grouped on species and cultivars as well. Lately, the homologation of a new creation has been also performed as based on the fruit chemical composition in active principles.