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AppleGenie project successfully completed

Fruit thinning is the single most important, yet difficult to manage, strategy that determines the annual profitability of apple orchards. The apple sector lacks tools to get relevant information supporting decisions regarding the choice for a specific thinning program (heavy or light) or a second treatment. Together with fruit losses caused by the occurrence of bitter pit, these remain two major burdens for apple growers in Europe.

The AppleGenie project was aimed at developing tools to support decisions regarding these issues, directed at preventing losses. These tools are based on molecular diagnostics, the core competence of NSure. Information from relevant changes in gene activity of the apples forms the basis of the tests. The idea behind this approach is that each change in the physiology and eventually in the quality of an apple starts with a change in the activity of related genes. Also the way in which a plant will react to certain treatments can be read from the gene-activity fingerprint.

The AppleGenie project was driven by SME’s, deeply involved in agricultural practice. The combination with prestigious research institutes from Southern Europe (IRTA and UNIBO) and presumed end users secured the value of the study performed. The project, supported by the European Commission 7th Framework Program (7FP), was coordinated by NSure.

Project results can be found on the website of Applegenie, and although not ready yet for commercial application, major steps have been made towards better control thinning and bitter pit. Throughout the AppleGenie project, interaction with the national and international community has been realized. For more information about gene activity in relation to challenges in agriculture contact NSure.