International projects

  EST/LAT Program "GoodFruit"

The objective of the project is to promote fruit and berry storage and processing technologies in order to enhance regional business activity in alternative economic area. For that purpose the project shall involve series of investments, organisation of study trips and seminars, promotion of cooperation networks and issue of publications on related issues.
  Core Collection of Northern European Gene Pool of Ribes (RIBESCO)

Chief perfomer Hedi Kaldmäe. Project duration 2007-2011

The RIBESCO project is designed to improve the level of characterisation and conservation of the northern European pool of Ribes (currants and gooseberry) germplasm, raising the information and safety level of the collections of Ribes genetic resource.

The project establishes a decentralised core collection of the Northern EC Ribes germplasm, to form the most important component of national collections. The project also embraces the creation of a transnational network, and the achievement of a modern genotypic characterisation of the germplasm, combining characterisation data with the professional knowledge of the persons responsible for the conservation of national Ribes germplasm collections.

Activity will include easy-access documentation, the project promoting the transfer and use of Ribes genetic material on a European scale. Organisational procedures applied in this project will be available to other projects aiming at similar results.

The project receives financial support from the European Commission, Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development, under Council Regulation (EC) No 870/2004 (Action 071).



Estonian National Programme

"Collection and Conservation of Plant Genetic Resources of agricultural plants"

Chief performer Ave Kikas. Project duration 2007-2013

Collecting and maintenance of genetic resources The national Plant Genetic Resources (PGR) programme has been formally approved and finances allocated by the Government of Estonia in 2002. Programme is coordinated by the Council of PGRFA organized by the Estonian Ministry of Agriculture. Ministry of Environment coordinates preparation of the law of genetic resources preservation.

Objectives of the programme
  • Sustainable conservation and utilization of PGR of Estonian origin to ensure implementation of Convention on Biological Diversity
  • Development of the national PGR network
  • Exploration and utilization of collections

The Polli Research Centre for Horticulture is responsible for investigation and preserving of genetic resources of fruit and berry cultivars and selections bred in Estonia. In addition, a numerous collection of introduced from abroad cultivars are held for evaluating of their perspective in Estonia.

The whole number of accessions in collections is about 900, including 370 apple, 80 pear, about 100 plum, 60 cherry, 55 strawberry, and 75 black currants. Among these Estonian origin apple accessions are 43, pears 7, plums 23, and cherries 17. For safe conservation, reserve accessions of Estonian origin cultivars are held in other places also. Database is attainable for everybody in Jõgeva Plant Breeding Institute and Nordic Gene Bank (in Sweden).

Click here to explore our database of Estonian fruit and berry cultivars



Baseline financing grants

The development of the competence centre of food production chain

Chief performer Ave Kikas. Project duration 2008-2011

The aim of the project is to improve collaboration between Estonian University of Life Sciences Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and Institute of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences. The project consists of product development studies incorporating diary and horticultural products.

The chief performers are scientists and doctoral students from Institute of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Polli Horticultural Research Centre and from Institute of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences Micro Creamery.



Target financed program

Improvement of assortment of fruit crops, maintenance of genetic diversity and development of environment-friendly cultivating methods II

Reg. No 1092711s06. Head of project Asta Libek. Duration 2006-2011.

The project is planned as the continuation of former long term research.

The research is aiming at diversifying the production, increasing the yields and improving the quality of fruit and berry cultures by means of creating improved cultivation techniques and better cultivars. Breeding own cultivars and introducing and evaluating cultivars from other breeding programs will be continued to accomplish the task. The trials will focus on winter hardiness, disease resistance, yield potential, fruit quality (including the content of nutritionally important substances), attractiveness and shelf life.

In addition to traditional methods of monitoring phenological traits and gathering data of economically important characteristics of perspective hybrids we aim to improve the breeding programme with contemporary genotyping methods. Using molecular markers for identification of genotypes carrying economically important traits will enable to obtain additional information important for selecting suitable parential germplasm for further hybridization. In order to obtain more competitive and healthier yields of stone- and pomefruits different sustainable growing techniques and dwarfing rootstocks are used.

As a result of the research the assortment of cultivars will be supplemented with high yielding winter and disease resistant cultivars enabling to get valuable production using sustainable cultivation techniques and less expenditures. The gene pool will be enriched with new genotypes.



Grants of Estonian Science Foundation

The diversity of bioactive compounds in fruits and berries.

ETF7703, chief performer Ave Kikas. Project duration 2008-2011

The aim of the planned research is to give an evaluation to the content of bioactive compounds (anthocyanins and other polyphenolic components, carotenoids and ascorbic acid) in berry and fruit cultivars and candidate cultivars or prospective breeders selections (apple tree, plum tree, sweet cherry, sea buckthorn, black currant, strawberry, edible honeysuckle, rowantree and raspberry) in Estonia.

Another important parameter the oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) of antioxidant compounds will also be determined using traditional spectrophotometrical method and high performance liquid chromatography method (HPLC). HPLC method enables to determine which of the diverse bioactive components in fruits and berries has the highest antioxidant capacity.

As the result of the research fruit and berry cultivars with high content of bioactive compounds will be determined and suggested for use as the potential parental plants in further breeding processes in Estonia and in other regions with similar climatic conditions. Recommendations will be given to fruit growers for selecting for growing cultivars with high content of bioactive compounds. The results of the research will give sufficient grounds to advocate fruits and berries as the compounds of a biocomplete and health promoting diet.



Projects of the Estonian Agricultural Ministry

Selection of scab resistant apple cultivars

Project head: Toivo Univer. Duration 2009-2019
Small fruit breeding and the research on the agrotechnics of raspberry and black currant

Project head: Asta Libek. Duration 2009-2019


Projects of Enterprise Estonia

Introduction of new apple cultivars to high density orchards and development of environmentally friendly growing techniques

Project head Neeme Univer. Duration 01.02.2009-31.01.2013

The overall objective of the project is to develop an effective and environmentally friendly growing technology for Estonian high density apple orchards, to gain high quality and healthy production with lower costs, to increase apple production profitability and competitiveness of apple producers in domestic and export markets.

  • To choose 3-5 scab resistant apple cultivars with high quality fruits and finding cultivars suitable either for fresh consumption or processing.
  • To find medium vigorous and precocious rootstocks for perspective apple cultivars.
  • To develop environmentally friendly growing technology for perspective and new apple cultivars in high density orchard.
  • To find a suitable harvesting, storaging and processing technology for perspective and new scab resistant apple cultivars.