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"Non-destructive" analysis and display land"

Italy: New promising varieties in Fohanini experimental fields

Varietal research and "innovative" analysis - this is the strategy of Fondazione Fojanini, which has the objective of creating activities for the promotion and strengthening of scientific research and technical assistance in agriculture.

The Foundation is at the centre of a project coordinated by the University of Bologna for the use of state-of-the-art equipment to evaluate apples: a DA-Meter, a portable optical reader to establish ripening levels without destroying fruit, and Pinprenelle, which measures the quality, firmness, sugar level, acidity and weight of every single apple.

The two DA-Meters owned by Fojanini analyse the chlorophyll of the fruit and enable the construction of ripening curves to understand when apples are ready, whereas Pimprenelle opens the fruits to gather a whole series of information.

"So far, the analysis were carried out on around 6,000 apples, but we will reach 7-8,000 units before harvesting is over," explains Luca Follini (in the photo), technician of the fruit sector at Fojanini.

These technologies are used to analyse the various promising varieties that are being studied by the Foundation, "We have around 170 varieties and almost 100 are followed directly, collecting data using both traditional methods and DA-Meters. We try to gather all the information we can and confront it so that one day we can substitute destructive methods with non-destructive ones." 

The research aims at improving the quality, resistance and shelf-life of products, guaranteeing their sustainability.

The Foundation, which has around 1,500 plants obtained by crossbreeds, has recently arranged two fields - a display one in 2012 and a varietal one in the spring of 2013, with a total of 600-700 trees.

"At least 4 or 5 varieties could be launched on the market in the short-medium term," concludes Folini. 

The Fojanini Foundation is also contributing to the fight against the apple-tree blight.

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