Working Groups

Apple and pear variety and Roostock testing

Chair: Jef Vercammen

Aim: Serious and competent testing of new varieties and rootstocks of apples and pears with a proven unified descriptor list in a wide range of climate , based on a fair balanced experimental contract.

Main goals: Exchange of information and experience about new apple and pear varieties and rootstocks.

First work: Development of a proven descriptor list for apple and pear varieties.

Recent work: Standarized experimental contract for variety testing purposes.


Apricot and peach

Chair: Daniela Giovannini

The Apricot and Peach Working Group (WG) was established in 2014 and currently includes researchers from 33 European Research and Demonstration Institutes.

In 2016, the WG has embarked on an initiative to set up a network of evaluation of novel peach cultivars in the EU, aiming to harmonize the varietal evaluation and to improve the dissemination and quality of information on the newly released peach and nectarine cultivars.

At the beginning of 2018, a multi-site testing trial of 17 peach and nectarine Reference cultivars was established in 11 experimental sites located in Italy, Spain, France, Greece and Romania. In order to harmonize evaluation across sites, the WG also selected 44 most important agronomical and pomological descriptors to assess cultivar performance and protocols, methods and pictures/drawings to help their scoring. A Peach Guideline will soon be available on the EUFRIN website.

The WG meets regularly every 2 years. Previous meetings were held in Forlì, Italy (2014), Lleida, Spain (2016) and Balandran, France (2018).


Berry research (Soft fruit)

Chair: Bruno Mezzetti

The main objective of the Berry WG is to provide the necessary knowledge and tools to facilitate development of high quality, consumer-desirable fresh berry fruits of high nutritional quality optimal for human health at a competitive cost.


Decision Support Platform

Chair: Dany Bylemans

Various models have been developed or are under development i.e. models related to the appearance of pests and diseases, plant growth simulation, production estimates, … Some of them never reach their full potential because of the lack of continuity in research projects. Members of this WG are open to discuss each other’s models, improve and broaden them and validate them in various European climatological conditions. 


Chair & secretary: Esther Bravin

The main issue of the group is fruit economics: costs analysis, related to farm profitability, evaluation of innovations in fruit production, innovation related to climate change and sustainability. Furthermore, aspects as value chain analysis, analysis of organization systems for fruit distribution and storage and data analysis of automatic generated data for the fruit sectors are focus of the working group.


Fruit thinning

Chair: Guglielmo Costa

The EUFRIN Working Group on Fruit Thinning met regularly every year, moving to one country member to another. Starting some years ago we invite at every Meeting an “invited speaker” nto be update on the progress of the fruit thinninh in his country. The most recent invited speaker offer deals with Physiology of the abnscission and return bloom and this year the methods to affect pre- and post-harvset fruit quality with chemical and physical methods will be discussed.

We also have some non-European colleagues that come regularly (i.e Prof. Karen Theron from South Africa, atc) and 5 chemical company that are regularly attending our meeting and give support for the invited speaker, transportation, coffe-break, as well as publication when we have been able to produce it. For instance we publish on the Acta Horticulturae (998, 128 pages, publication date July, 2013) 3 Symposia (Girona, Netherlands and Lubiana)


Improvement of fruit through biotechnology

Chair: Francois Laurens


Plum and Prune

Chair: Mihai Botu

The WG activities are focused on topics including all aspects of research and development on plum growing in various environmental conditions, harvesting and post-harvest issues, processing including fruit drying and storage, genetics and breeding of plum, cultivars and rootstocks testing, genetic resources evaluation and conservation, fruit quality, pests and diseases, propagation, economics, etc.


Postharvest and Fruit Quality

Chair: Dirke Köpcke

The mission of the EUFRIN Postharvest and Fruit Quality Working Group (PFQ WG) is to build the network of researchers interested in the field of pre-harvest and post-harvest aspects of fruit quality. The activities of the PFQ WG are aimed at encouraging cooperation between researchers. The main topics of cooperation are: methods and techniques used to determine fruit quality; comparisons between destructive and non-destructive methods of quality determination; fruit quality indices; legal regulations in the fruit quality determination; prediction of optimum harvest date; the influence of harvest date and storage conditions on fruit quality and storability; development of innovative storage technologies and their impact on fruit quality. Fruit quality investigation covers, besides the basic parameters, also health promoting components and their impact on quality of produce and human health as well. Taking into account fruit storability we focus on prediction and control of storage diseases and disorders and we are also working on drawing up a guide as to how to recognize the disorders.

The goals could be achieved by exchanging results from running experiments and/or ideas, preparing proposals and collaborating within the new projects, etc. The share of knowledge could be achieved by using the internet (possibly by creating a network) and/or during the WG meetings.

The invitation is addressed to researchers but in case of specific events (focused on dissemination of knowledge) also other specialists interested in postharvest fruit research (extension service, commercial companies, etc) are welcome.


Shell fruit species (Nuts (being established))

Chair: Geza Bujdoso

The Shell Fruit Species WG focuses on new innovations in the Persian walnut, almond, hazelnut, chestnut and pistachio research and production. The WG would like to represent the European researchers dealing with shell fruit species. Breeders, plant pathologists, plant physiologists, food scientists and other researchers having research on nursery production, micropropagation, pathogens, insects, evaluation of cultivars, rootstocks, orchard systems, post-harvest, market value on the shell fruit species are invited to the WG. TheWG is interested in new tendencies, results of the members, therefore the WG would like to organise 2-day meeting every other year.


Spray Application and Precision Technology in Fruit Growing

Chair: Marcel. Wenneker 

Spraying fruit trees is a standard practice in IPM for fruit growers (conventional and organic) to control plant diseases and insect pests. In this Working Group we focus on all aspects related to spray applications,  such as optimizing spray deposition and minimizing spray drift. Also, aspects of precision technology such as remote sensing, the use of UAVs, Normalised Difference Vegetation Index mapping, and machine learning are included.


Chair: Luca Corelli-Grappedelli

Coordinating and streamlining EUFRIN profile in the European context. Liaison towards EU Commission institutions. Preparation and Representation of EUFRIN Vision and Strategic Research Agenda. Currently engaged with AREFLH ( and FreshFEL ( in a TaskForce providing a EU-wide, Fruit and Vegetable Sector Strategic Innovation Research Agenda.


Sweet and sour cherry

Chair: Jose Quero-Garcia

This Working Group arose in 2013 as an initiative of COST Action FA1104 ‘Sustainable production of high-quality cherries for the European market’. This network will address all aspects related to cherry production, commercialisation, and consumption. Therefore, it will be highly multidisciplinary and will involve scientists working in the fields of plant breeding, genetics, genomics, agronomy, physiology, phytopathology, entomology, microbiology, post-harvest technology, and socio-economics. A special emphasis will be placed on key EU priorities such as the promotion of sustainable agriculture, adaptation to climate change, and the development of high-quality fruits from a nutraceutical point of view. Expected deliverables will be the exchange of data between research teams, the adoption of common experimental protocols, the implementation of predictive models in the fields of epidemiology and tree phenology, and the establishment of coordinated European marker-assisted selection strategies, including multi-location field trials. Benefits will mostly concern breeders and producers but consumers as well, through the promotion of better cherries and new food products.


Sustainable Fruit Production to minimize residues

Chair: Franziska Zavagli

Limit residues on fruits is a common key issue for the European fruit production. The EUFRIN Working group “Sustainable fruit production to minimize residues” is a network of researcher dealing with integrated pest management (IPM) practices, low input systems, alternative plant protection (especially cultural, biological, biotechnological, physical and mechanical methods) and storage techniques, to reduce pesticide use.

17 institutes from 15 European countries (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherland, Norway, Poland, Rumania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK) are exchanging their experiences and results on pome fruits, stone fruits, berries and citrus fruits.


Water Relations & Irrigation

Chair: Pierre-Eric Lauri

The Working Group (WG) in “water relations & irrigation” gathers EU and Extra EU scientists and stakeholders with extensive experience in eco-physiology, water relations, soil and irrigation management of horticultural species. The focus of the WG is to develop innovative strategies to help the EU fruit sector to face the many challenges related to climate change and future resources limitations, such as increased heat and water stress conditions, reduced water availability, competition of water use with other sectors, and the likely geographical shifts of the growing areas for several species.

These strategies include: development of new drought tolerant varieties, improvement of soil management techniques to preserve the natural soil features and face water scarcity, improvement of irrigation management through plant-based sensors for the real time monitoring of plant water status, decision support systems for precise irrigation scheduling and reduced deficit irrigation protocols, development of new orchard management strategies aimed at decreasing the orchard water use etc.

The active exchange within this WG among researchers and stakeholders facilitates the dissemination and technological transfer of the main research outputs and gives scientists precious feedbacks on the actual needs and problems experienced by EU producers.