Fruit thinning is a very important cultural practice in fruit production, but difficult to manage, which determines the annual profitability of apple crops.
The apple sector lacks relevant tools to support decisions regarding the choice of a specific thinning program (intensive or light) or a second chemical thinning treatment. Together with the fruit losses caused by the occurrence of bitter pit, these remain two major burdens for European apple growers.
The AppleGenie project aimed to develop tools to support decisions related to these problems, aimed at avoiding losses. These tools are based on molecular diagnosis.
Information on relevant changes in the genetic activity of apples forms the basis of the tests.
The idea behind this approach is that every change in the physiology and eventually the quality of an apple starts with a change in the activity of related genes.
You can also read how a plant will react to certain treatments from the fingerprint of genetic activity.
The AppleGenie project was promoted by SMEs, such as OpenNatur, deeply involved in agricultural practice. The combination of these SMEs, prestigious research institutes from southern Europe (IRTA and UNIBO) and presumed users ensured the value of the study carried out. The project, supported by the “European Commission 7th Framework Program” (7FP), was coordinated by NSure.
Throughout the AppleGenie project, Opennatur has collaborated with the national and international community. The results of the project can be found on the Applegenie website, and although they are not yet ready for commercial application, important steps have been taken towards better control of thinning and bitter pit.