NPLK14014U Fruit and Berry Crop Physiology and Quality

Volume 2014/2015
MSc Programme in Agriculture

The focus is on management of fruit growth and fruit quality based on an understanding of the relationships between the growing techniques, the cultivar and the physiological background. Similarities and differences among fruit crop types (tree, bush, cane, herbacious), with regard to growing conditions and importance of yield and quality components are discussed. Emphasis is on temperate fruits, nuts, berries and fruit vegetables, grown mainly in open field or in tunnel systems.
The course also addresses examples of the genetic and quality variation among cultivars and the importance of different quality attributes depending on intented postharvest use (fresh consumption, cooking, juice processing). The reference growing systems are the common commercial systems including organic growing, but elements with relevance for small scale/home gardening are also included.
In general the crop specific aspects of the following main topics will be covered:
- Yield and quality components and determinants (organ development and interactions)
- Dry matter and nutrient allocation among sources and sinks in fruiting plants (carbon and nutrient balances)
- Control of vigour and shape of plants (pruning and management of nutrients and irrigation)
- Effects of preharvest factors and stresses (climate, a-biotic or biotic) on internal and external quality of fruits
- Content and development of secondary and bioactive compounds in fruits
- Maturation, ripening and assessment of optimal harvest and quality aspects in fruit crops.
- Post harvest usability (fresh consumption, cooking, juice and industry processing) and sensory aspects of different cultivars and fruit types. Special attention is given to production and quality of fruit juices.
Similarities and differences among and within species are evaluated with emphasis on species belonging to temperate fruits, nuts and fruit vegetables. Biotechnological aspects are addressed at a limited level.

Learning Outcome

The course is targeted to students interested in Plant Science (Horticulture and Agriculture) and Food Science students who are particularly interested in fruit and berry crops and the quality and use of the raw materials/food products these crops provide.

- Summarize the physiological and technological basis for production of fruiting crops (pit- stone- cane- and bush fruits, other berries, nuts and fruit vegetables such as tomato and cucumber)
- show overview of development and quality of the fruit organs and how and why it varies with genotype and preharvest growing conditions
- identify and describe the variation among major and special cultivars of fruits and berries used in terms of development and quality parameters.
- reflect about the importance of fruit and berries for human health and specific aspects of food quality.

- Apply basic knowledge of physiology and biochemistry from plant and food science at the whole plant level.
- analyse a fruiting crop based on the individual crop specific yield and quality components.
- explain how and why different growing conditions and techniques are used in the fruit industry and how it affects plant growth and product/fruit quality.

- analyse the choices made by growers and industry with regard to methods used to obtain optimal productivity and product quality.
- discuss trade offs, such as between sensory quality and storability, or between pesticide use and organic growing

Literature lists will be available from the course responsible.

Besides lectures the course will include practicals, where the students are working with cultivar evaluation, quality analysis or aspects of fruit growing physiology (plant and organ development, canopy management etc). Part of the hands on teaching will be field based in the experimental fruit collections at the Pometum.
The practicals will be made in groups, while the individual student is given the opportunity, in a major report written throughout the course, to focus on an area of special interests. Thus individual competences with emphasis on either fruit growing physiology or fruit quality aspects of fruits as raw materials for industry processing or fresh consumption can be developed. The topic of the major report are to be presented to the class in a short lecture based on a selected journal paper.
2 or 3 excursions will be arranged in connection with the different course subjects.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Colloquia
  • 5
  • Excursions
  • 21
  • Lectures
  • 35
  • Practical exercises
  • 30
  • Preparation
  • 40
  • Project work
  • 75
  • Total
  • 206
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 20 minutter
Written assignment, ca. 3 uger
The portfolio includes a major report and 2 out of 4 additional products (e.g. exercise reports or presentation)
Weight of exam components: Evaluation of major report 50 %, oral examination in portfolio contents and curriculum 50%.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
One internal examinator.
Criteria for exam assesment

see the learning outcome