The QualiRedFruits project deals with the competitiveness of raspberry production and market. This market is in constant evolution due to consumer interest in the health benefits of antioxidant molecules (AOM) in raspberry fruits and public requirement for new fruit production technology safer for the environment.
The aims of the project are therefore to identify raspberry varieties with higher quality in terms of AOM content and conceive innovative cultural practices respectful of the environment. It brings together 5 SMEs and 5 RTD performers with high expertise level in this area to reach the project objectives. Research activities will include screening of raspberry varieties for their AOM content and the development of new cultural practices involving the use of beneficial micro-organisms (biotisation) and of natural elicitors of plant defence reactions in order to drastically reduce chemical input and to increase AOM synthesis in raspberry. This will be associated with the development of a quality insurance scheme for raspberry plant production. Molecular markers will be designed for the specific identification of varieties together with a cryo-preservation protocol for germplasm long-term conservation. Molecular methods will also be developed for the identification of beneficial and pathogenic micro-organisms in order to assess plant sanitary status. All these approaches will be tested in real production trials, from in vitro culture to the field for their validation.
Finally, recommendations for quality production of raspberry to SMEs will be drawn. The new technologies developed in this project will have an important impact on the production of raspberry fresh fruits of higher quality by the SMEs involved and will also impact the frozen and processed fruit market. The results from QualiRedFruits will therefore be the driving force to obtain competitive advantages for these companies on the European and International market.