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UK: Research funding to improve quality in apples and pears

An invitation to tender for research funding that will help improve apple and pear quality has been launched by AHDB Horticulture (formerly HDC).

The call for proposals will see £200,000 invested across five years of research, to develop methods to improve the quality of commercial apples and pears both at harvest and during storage - a priority area for fruit research.

The invitation to tender will focus on dry matter content, which is considered a key indicator of fruit quality and storability. Recent studies have suggested that the eating quality of stored apples has a direct correlation to dry matter and further research is needed to determine how environmental conditions and practices during growth affect the fruit’s dry matter content at harvest and in storage.

The objective of this funded work is to provide longer-term commercial benefit for UK fruit growers.

Rachel Lockley, AHDB Horticulture Fruit research and knowledge exchange manager, said, “The scope of this research is for both apples and pears, with research expected to be carried out at research centres and commercial sites. Ultimately we are working towards finding new practices and learnings that will help growers improve fruit quality and in turn the commercial viability of the annual tree fruit harvest.”

A second tier to the research that AHDB is seeking relates to finding new, reliable non-destructive methods for measuring fruit maturity in order to ensure fruit is harvested at the optimal time. At present measuring fruit maturity requires a process of several destructive harvests which can give variable, difficult to interpret results.
Deadline for tenders is Wednesday 27 January 2016. For more information on this call visit the funding pages of AHDB Horticulture’s website: horticulture.ahdb.org.uk
 

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