To date, fruit-breeding programmes have mostly focused on easily identifiable phenotypic characteristics such as fruit colour or size. However, the availability of high-throughput analytical and molecular methodologies now allows us to pursue more challenging quality traits such as nutritional contents and an increase in vitamin C concentrations. The main goal of this proposal is to identify the genetic and molecular factors that control vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid, AsA) accumulation in apple fruits. Apple, is one of the most widely cultivated tree fruits in the world, and understanding the mechanisms that regulate AsA contents, would lead to the identification of novel genes and alleles that can be used for plant breeding for AsA-enriched apple fruits. This in turn can contribute to improved apple fruit nutritional and postharvest quality and consequently, add extra value to the crop. The VITAFRUIT project will have a positive impact in several sectors of society. Firstly by increasing food quality we can improve human health and nutrition. Secondly there will also be economic benefits for the apple (and fruit) industry, breeders and farmers and the development of new AsA-rich cultivars will lead to renewal and stimulation across the entire production chain. Finally the results developed here will also contribute to the pool of scientific knowledge on AsA metabolism and can deliver biotechnological tools necessary for academic research and food crop production.
Fields of science
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