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Italy: Interpoma wraps up with research latests

The third day of the Interpoma Congress was opened by Ton den Nijs, researcher from the University of Wageningen, the Netherlands, with his report on durable multigene resistance for new apple varieties through cisgenesis, a solution to protect plants from diseases without adopting chemical treatments.

According to the researcher’s findings in fact, with this technique orchards maintain a high quality of the cultivar over time, and at the same time the introduction of foreign genes in nearby cultivations is avoided.
The next speaker, Walter Guerra, from the Laimburg Research Centre for Agriculture and Forestry presented a phenotypic and genetic study on four large red fleshed apple varieties. Anthocyanins and flavonoids are responsible for the particular colour; they have antioxidant properties that can play a role in the prevention of certain human diseases. Research reports suggest that anthocyanins have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties as well as anticancer and anti-diabetic properties. That is the reason why the production of red fleshed apples is being tested worldwide, also in Alto Adige, and experts believe they could have great market potential.
On this matter, Markus Bradlwarter, from the Alto Adige Variety Innovation Consortium, illustrated the results of some tests carried out on consumers to assess consumer acceptance and liking of red fleshed apples.

According to the results, the attitude of consumes is ambivalent: they show an interest in the new fruit and appreciate the quality but they suspect that it is a genetically modified product. It will therefore be necessary to carry out a suitable communication campaign to explain the qualities and health benefits of red fleshed apples in order for them to be successful.

The next speaker, Francois Laurens from the Fruitbredomics consortium, described the new methods in fruit breeding to increase the efficiency of apple and peach cultivations.

Then it was the turn of Eva Negri from the Department of Epidemiology of the Istituto di Ricerche farmacologiche Mario Negri of Milano. Ms. Negri illustrated the results of a study on apples and their components in the prevention of cancer, confirming the common saying: “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. Data in fact shows that 20 to 40% of cases of cancer of the digestive systems in Italian patients can be attributed to a low consumption of fruit and vegetables. In particular, apples are a source of different phytochemical substances and epidemiological studies have specifically ascertained that a regular consumption of apples reduces the risk of cancer. Despite the fact that research to identify the components responsible for this type of protection is still underway, it can be stated that apples are a valid ally in the prevention of cancer.

The day, characterised by speakers at international level, was closed by Terence Robinson, from the Cornell University, Geneva (USA), who illustrated some solutions for fire blight resistant rootstocks.

For more information:
Francesco Reggiani and Giorgia Marchetti
International press office of Interpoma c/o Fruitecom
Tel: +39-059-7863894

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