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Predictive diagnostics

Gene expression

Bitter pit disorders and thinning

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Apple fruit

Bitter pit disorder

Crop load thinning

About AppleGenie

“Predictive diagnostics based on gene expression for rapid assessment of crop load programs and bitter pit disorder in apple fruit”

Background Thinning

Crop load thinning is now recognized as vital to the effective management of apple orchards. Virtually all apple varieties have a tendency to over produce (set) fruit by up to 70%.

Background Bitter pit

Bitter pit is a disorder which can severely affect the economic value of the fruit, reducing it to 40% of the production price. The incidence and severity of bitter pit are affected by variety.


AppleGenie, an FP7 project coordinated by Netherlands-based biotechnology company NSure, has kicked off March, ’14. The project application and negotiation process has been supported by Theia.

Project Description

Ineffective chemical thinning and the storage disorder named bitter pit lower the production of high quality apples in Europe. The AppleGenie project will develop diagnostic tests to handle and overcome these bottlenecks in apple horticulture.

This AppleGenie project is a SME driven project. It means that development of practical tools will be assured. The project aims at crossing the bridge between science and practice. Prestigious research institutes as IRTA (Spain), Plant and Food Research (NZ), CTIFL (France) and the University of Bologna combine their efforts with end users and high end consultancy providers that are very well involved in horticultural practice.

The tools to be developed are based on molecular diagnostics. This means that information from relevant changes in gene expression of the apples itself will form the basis for the tests.

The test result should give the customer insight in when and how to apply chemical thinners to achieve optimal profitability. Experiments will be executed in both Southern Europe and New Zealand in order to look for universal applicable tools and to make optimal use of the different seasons.

Regarding the test to be developed for bitter pit, the consortium will focus on predictive tests to be applied before harvest. Preventive measures can be taken if needed to overcome severe losses during storage.

The project aims at development of a diagnostic platform that will generate test results quick and easy, needed to be in time for taking measures.


Project Details


Start date
1st March 2014

36 months

The European Commission through 7 Framework Program has granted this project a contribution of 1,3
million €, which will support 78 % of project budget.

NSure bv, Wageningen, The Netherlands

The project is funded by the European Commission and has started on March 1st, 2014

project detail 1

Ineffective chemical thinning and storage disorder named bitter pit