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NSure Scald test for pears

A consortium of major fruit co-operatives from the Emilia Romagna region in Italy and the Dutch biotechnology company NSure will invest together in research to develop a predictive test for scald. The test will indicate the risk for the occurrence of scald during storage for each harvest batch, and can be used as decision support for storage and sales planning.

Scald in Abate
Scald is defined by a brownish discoloration of the skin that reduces the attractiveness of the fruit. The problem is not visible at harvest time and appears only during storage. NSure’s molecular testing technology (patents pending) enables detection of the predisposition for scald already during harvest. Using the NSure test the co-operatives will be able to determine the optimal storage duration for each individual harvest batch. The project unites the the most important co-operatives from the Emilia-Romagna region in Northern Italy. The companies involved are Agrintesa, Apofruit, Cipof, Fruit Modena Group, Patfrut en Terremerse. It is expected that in two years time the research project will result in a first test version for use in practice on Abate pears.

How does it work?
The research for developing the test for predicting scald involves measuring the activity of genes in the fruit at harvest time. Gene activity profiles are correlated with the storage results. This allows selection of genes that are involved in the predisposition to Scald. By analysing the activity of those selected genes at harvest time NSure will be able to predict the risk for the occurence of scald for each harvest batch. To obtain this result, growers just take a juice sample from each of their batches. A single droplet of juice is applied on a special card and sent to one of NSure’s test laboratories. NSure will report the condition of the batch within 48 hours after receipt of the card.

Background information on the NSure Abate Scald project (Italian)