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26th Scientific Symposium with International Participation

Project CEEX 20

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

Acronym - SUSTAIN-FRUIT


5. Work Packages (WP)

WP 1 - Fruit genetics

Methodology and techniques proposed in this project are up-to-date worldwide and are based on field and lab experiments on a diverse biological material, with a valuable genetics origin in competitive cultures and in situ collections. The field study assumes observations and determinations on the ecological adaptability evaluated at blooming, its intensity, fruit setting, yield potential and the cultivars quality at the EU standards. Laboratory studies on pollen fertility and capacity of germination in the analyzed genotypes lead to the determination of pollen compatibility as a key factor for the yield quality and quantity, this having a practical implication in the correct cultivars association in orchards. Detection and selection of the genotypes resistant to Scab in apple, to fire blight in pear, plum pox in plum and monillia in cherry, as well as of high-quality fruit genotypes using new methods as electrophoresis, contribute to the finding of the polymorphic markers and the potential for new breeding works.

Evaluation of quality parameters and content in the main biochemical components with an active role in human health will be performed by using equipments capable of accurate and complete fruit analyses by help of modern equipment. Finally, based on the results obtained, the range of varieties is found for each studied species in accordance with the market standards and characteristics. The output obtained is subject to homologation and patent after the regulations in force. The objective activities are carried out by breeders and biologists, as well as by phyto-pathologists, while the contribution of each partner consists of analyses, determinations, observations, evaluations, according to the Plan of fulfillment.

For selection and breeding of the main small fruits and strawberry, it starts with the study and exploration of a germplasm stock enriched in the latest years with many new genotypes obtained from the international breeding programs and showing a very complex heredity. The rigorous choosing of new genitors and their combination by conventional methods in new hybrid schemes, orientation towards non-approached objectives e.g. the firmness, conservation period, resistance to new diseases and pests, identification and selection of genotypes of raspberry, blackberry, blackcurrant and blueberry after the content in biologic-active substances represent novelties for the small fruits breeding program. The project assumes a very complex experimental design, containing species showing various agro-ecological and biological features. The study, evaluation and determinations are mostly carried out in the field in a diverse crop palette: collections, hybrid field, micro-cultures and competitive cultures. The screening for resistance and quality are done in the field and lab as well, by using up-to-date methods. Evaluation and individual selections are done for the small fruits collections, hybrid fields, competitive cultures and micro cultures. Field and lab observations and determinations specific for selection are performed and conducted. Activities of the International „Interberry – Interdisciplinary integrated study for the improvement of the quality of berries and for the design of new products with high added value” (period 2004-2007) as well as participation in the European Program COST 863 (2005-2008) are contributing to a great extent to the achievement of the present project objectives by deepening some aspects on fruit quality and traceability to the optimum segments of the market for each genotype.

WP 2 – Plant propagation

The biological and crop value of the fruit and dendrology nursery material is in agreement with the EU Directive no. 92/34/CEE. The methodology used here is typical for the research in the field of plant propagation. The used techniques refer to field and lab studies. The in vitro culture techniques show the regenerative potential of the vegetal cell by its exposure to the hormonal-nutritional conditions and rigorous controlled environmental factors. The methodology applied follows the evolution of the in vitro culture established, as correlated with the above factors that need optimal values versus the utilized biological material. Ornamental varieties of the genus: Buxus, Chamaecyparis, Hibiscus, Juniperus, Ligustrum, Malus, Rhus, Taxus şi Thuya are studied. As each species answers to some certain plant propagation technology, the most efficient and fast method to obtain nursery material is comparatively studied here.

WP 3 – Fruit production techniques and technologies

Soil-plant-atmosphere-continuum (SPAC)

The same methodology is applied during each year of study, but this is adjusted to the particularities of the experimental plots provided with an irrigation system and /or drainage system. The factors analyzed are: a) irrigation method (micro-sprinkler, drip), b) the fertilizer application and the way of application (classical on the soil and by fertigation) of the N,P,K fertilizers, two types of the ground management system (mowed sod strips, clean cultivation strips) between tree rows and chemical and organic fertilizer application.

Tree canopy designs

The experiment on how to maximize sunlight utilization in orchards is complex and poly-factorial, with factor A as the crown type (slender spindle, cross Ypsillon, Solen, Tesa, modified leader); factor B as the pruning and maintenance system (moment of application, graduation of the type of intervention on various crown branches and sectors), factor C as the groundcover management system, and factor D as fertilizer application system (organic, conventional and integrated). To quantify the reception of solar energy, the photosynthetic active radiation in various tree crown sectors and various moments is measured by help of the SunScan Canopy Analysis System equipment (made in UK), which the Project coordinator (PC) already has.

Phyto-sanitary protection

In most of the cases, the organic substances of vegetal origin is obtained from vegetal material that has previously been dried, and after various procedures using different solvents the dry basic material is extracted and then the concentration to the powder level is obtained, and the utilized solvent is being eliminated. A new solution worldwide tends to grow up; extraction from fresh (green) basic material with the native characteristics (liquid in aqueous liquid environment) being preserved without any change in the environment and the state in the processes of working up and utilization. Fruit trees cultivars suffer of great variations in genetics due to man interventions. That is why the only chance to give a sustainable response to the pathogen agents raid is that to induce immunity. Another way to stimulate and induce immunity at the crop level is given by the possibility of using some phyto-protection substances which are similar to those synthesized by fruit trees (in the shape of native state and environment), simultaneously with the utilization of some application methods to protect the way of the systemic action of these substances.

Fruit preservation

The key to preserve fresh fruit quality is to transfer fruits from the environment temperature to the preservation temperature, without changing in fruit metabolism. To find out the optimum preservation temperature and the transfer temperature from the environment to the storage house, a 3-factor experiment isdesigned with: factor A = species and cultivars to be stored, factor B=packing case with stored fruits, factor C=preservation temperature. The methodology consists of evaluation of species and cultivars to be stored, testing of ripening and firmness, treatments using ecological, pre and post-harvest products, observations and determinations in dynamics for the physical indicators of the fruit to be stored, registering the dynamics of the environmental conditions of the field and storage house, dynamics of the fruit biochemical properties, determination of diseases and physiological disorders of the fruits during preservation, field and laboratory micro tests to quantify the preservation period, modification of preservation conditions as a function of results.

WP 4 – Ecology and human health

The fruit chemical components of fruit trees and small fruit species are extremely important in human metabolism due to their contribution in vitamins, sugars, fat acids, pectic substances, protein and tanoid substances as well. They also contain mineral elements and especially antioxidants showing a beneficial role. If the investigations done by now only considered the identification of fruit organic and mineral components, we propose in this project cooperation with some specialized units which should take the valuable genotypes and test on person groups possessing various human diseases. Regarding the methodology and techniques to be used here it should be stated that the determinations on the fruit chemical components are in agreement with those in force in this field.