CRA-FRF carries out a research breeding activity for fruit variety innovation improving the agro-pomological traits and the resistance to the main biotic and abiotic adversities, evaluating new varieties and rootstocks, preserving and characterising the local traditional fruit germplasm and valorising the best genetic resources
CRA-FRF is carrying out experimentation and research activities on the main fruit crop species cultivated in Northern areas (cherry, apple, pear, peach and plum) and, on strawberry adapted to Northern and Southern areas. The activity mainly aims at the variety innovation: it carries out genetic variety studies and programs for fruit breeding and variety selection, using traditional techniques, sustained by genomic and proteomic tools to increase yield, fruit quality traits and minimise the negative effects of biotic and environmental factors. It also carries out agronomic and nutritional studies on trees and on other aspects of cropping techniques in order to support a sustainable environmentally friendly fruit production.
CRA-FRF studies the fruit quality and nutraceutical value during the harvest and the post-harvest (simulating consumption times). The studies on strawberry are also extended to the plant propagation system and to support plant certification processes in the nursery activities.
Although the CRA-FRF research activity results mainly concern to improve the fruit industry of the North of Italy, especially of the Emilia-Romagna region, they often have a national effect, thanks to both the single activity setting and the high activity coordination with other CRA Centres and Units and with the main Italian Scientific Institutions.
The innovation of the strategy adopted by CRA-FRF is remarkable in many research activities. First, it has been necessary to fully understand which were the fruit industry research needs, especially Northern Italy ones. CRA-FRF comes to some agreements with big productive and commercial grower organisations – final users of our studies – on some common research activities aiming at variety innovation. These agreements have rapidly given excellent results. These organisations – joint-financiers of these research programs - have gained the role of final tester of the innovation involving their commercial expertise apart from those essentially agronomic. This has directed CRA-FRF research mostly to final products (new varieties) which have rapidly spread, concretely improving the initial situations.
The growth of Italian Grower Organisms is also made by proposing genetic innovations in an exclusive or very controlled way on the goods put on the market in order to have a more efficient marketing strategy.
Therefore, the fruit variety innovation is the main feature of CRA-FRF research activity. The yearly incomes from the royalties mainly paid by Italian producers, but also European and American ones who growing CRA-FRF varieties, represent an important source of financial support capable to fill the gaps of staff and the lack of working and refunding of the research