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CREA - Via Po, 14 - 00198 ROMA
P.IVA: 08183101008 - C.F.: 97231970589
Tel: +39 06 478361 - Fax: +39 06 47836320 -
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Centro di ricerca per la frutticoltura (FRU)
Direttore - DAVIDE NERI

Headquarter - ROMA
Centro di ricerca per la frutticoltura (FRU)
Via di Fioranello 52
00134 - ROMA
Tel: +39-06-7934811 - Fax: +39-0679340158

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The Fruit Tree Research Centre of Rome was established in Rome on 1927 as the Institute of Fruit and Electrogenetic. The first president was Prof. Mario Ferraguti, forerunner of high density fruit tree growing, (at the time of publication his article "The pear: 2000 plants per hectare" caused much astonishment) and the first director was Prof. Alberto Pirovano, already then famous for having bred the table grape variety ‘Italia’ and many other varieties widely grown in Italy and abroad, as well as for studies on mutagenesis induced with the application of magnetic fields. In 1955 the Institute was moved from the location in Grottarossa, north of Rome, to Fiorano, south of Rome in the Roman countryside, which is now part of the Regional Park of Appia Antica. The law for the reorganization of the research facilities of the then Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, 1318/67, to the drafting of which prof. Lalatta Filippo also contributed, who took over as director in 1961, established the Experimental Institute for Fruit tree of Rome, adding three peripheral Sections in Trento, Forlì and Caserta. Sections of Forlì and Caserta absorbed, respectively, the Laboratory of Agricultural Chemistry and the Institute for Southern Livestock, while Trento was established from scratch. Under the directions of professors Banzanti Edward (1971-1978) and Charles Fideghelli (1978-2008), the Institute built new headquarters in Forlì on the premises of the 40 hectares experimental farm located on the outskirts of the city, has renovated the office in Caserta and has acquired a new farm of 25 acres for experimental work, the experimental farm in Rome has expanded from the 20 hectares to 66 hectares, 30 of which are dedicated to the National Center for Germplasm fruit. The last reform of 1999 established the Council for Agricultural Research, which brought together into a single body structure of the Ministry of Research Institute for Experimental Fruit has become the Fruit Research Centre for the only seat in Rome, having abolished the Division of Trento and transformed sections of Forlì and Caserta in the Research Unit for Fruit, autonomous from Rome by the scientific point of view.


The mission The Fruit tree Research Centre (CRA-FRU), under the ombrella of the Council for Research and Experimentation in Agriculture (CRA). It Develops studies of genetics, breeding plans, and varietal selection with conventional and innovative methods for the different species of fruit (except citrus). Collaborates with the Research Centre for the genomics and post-genomics to plant and animal identification and characterization of useful genes (involved in the maturation of the fruit, in resistance to diseases and stress, the nutritional properties) and for the development of molecular methods support the genetic improvement. The institute also studied the propagation techniques for fruit species and selection of rootstocks with particular reference to compatibility and environmental adaptation and health issues. fruit cultivation techniques are studied, with particular attention to agronomic aspects of integrated pest crop management. The Centre shall ensure the maintenance and updating of the fruit germplasm collections for the conservation of genetic diversity and its promotion.


The facilities.

The Farm

The total area occupied by the Centre is approximately 66 hectares, all contiguous. The oldest part is known as parcel ‘Fiorano 1’ which occupies just over 19 hectares, to which were added over time the parcel ‘Fiorano 2’, about 16 hectares, and the parcel ‘RGV-FAO’ just over 30 hectares. In all three plots the following species are cultivated (in brackets the percentage of the surface): kiwi (3.89%), apricot (3.28%), cherry (4.65%), peach (19:22%), plum (3.30%); apple (3.90%), pear (5.33%), almond (0.61%), hazelnut (1.22%), walnut (0.15%), pecan (0.61%), pistachio (0.46%), blueberry (0.46%), sea buckthorn (1.17%), raspberry (0.21%); fejioia (0.46%), grapes (0.76%). There are also a nursery (0.46%), greenhouses and shade (0.61%). The rest is made up of laboratories and offices, and soil set to rest.



In vitro culture and propagation


Chemical analysis


Pomological analysis

Genetics and Molecular Biology




The Biology group at CRA FRU focuses on studies aimed at the nutraceutical characterization of plant matrices. Specifically it conducts research and experimentation aimed at determining and evaluating the nutritional characteristics of the fruit of commercial and old varieties - both indigenous and foreign sources - stone fruit, pome fruit, berries, kiwi, pomegranate and fruit in general. In particular, the laboratory carries out investigations aimed at the determination and the identification of quail-quantitative characteristics of the following classes of compounds with manifest antioxidant and nutraceutical properties:

- most important organic acids and soluble solids by spectrophotometric and fluorimetric methods;

- total polyphenols, total anthocyanins, chlorophylls and total carotenoids with spectrophotometric and fluorimetric methods;

- Vitamin C and individual phenolic compounds (idrossinnamici acids, flavan-3oli, flavonols, anthocyanins, etc..) by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC).


Molecular and phenotypic characterization of phytopathogenic bacteria of agricultural crops with particular reference to fruit trees. Development of protocols for early detection of pathogenic bacteria in the propagation material. Development of defense strategies in place to control bacterial pathogens of fruit crops. Epidemiological studies related phytopathogenic bacteria of interest-bearing


Studies on predators and parasitoids. Orchard’s spider mites, entomopathogenic nematodes, hymenopterous parasitoids. Managing Crisopidi Neuroptera (key predators) in an agroecosystem with a chemical attractant: Fenilacetaldeide. Research in organic fruit orchards compared with conventional Use of products allowed by the EU regulation for organic production: laboratory bioassays to validate the effectiveness of different bioinsecticides in the fight against Ceratitis capitata in the open field and transfer of best results. Containment of the main pests of fruit with the application of techniques having a low environmental impact

Varietal studies for the identification of cultivars less susceptible to attack by pests, to set up a list usable by the operators in this area. Study of the aromas to some in relation to attraction towards carpofagi. Research on quality of organic fruits compared with conventional ones. Identification of useful markers for the "traceability” of biological ones. Quality studies to determine whether any differences are due to different growing techniques. Identification of markers for the traceability of pesticide residues in organic and conventional fruits through the use of arthropod pests.

In vitro cultures

Caulogenesi form axillary bud and adventitious root for the development of micropropagation protocols and characterization of physiological, biochemical and molecular processes. Caulogenesi adventitia from adult tissue with the use of regenerative systems designed for the exploitation of somaclonal variation and genetic recombination for the genetic improvement. Conservation of germplasm for the preservation of biodiversity of fruit species, using "slow - growth" and cryopreservation and molecular characterization of the processes and genetic stability Application of in vitro culture for the production and study of secondary metabolites


Were formed over 160 different species of fruit cultivars: apricot, cherry, strawberry, raspberry, apple, Japanese medlar, pear, peach and nectarine, plum (variety and rootstock), table grapes. Several of these cultivars have had and have a significant importance for the Italian fruit-growing and widespread international (Strawberry Sugar Lia, Addie, Paros, Cesena, Queen Elisa, Wave, raspberry: Erica apple: Summerfree, Golden Orange Forlady, but : Early in Fiorano, Tosca, Carmen; peach: Rome Star, Tirrenia, Rome, Sagittaria, Kalos 4, 3 UFO, UFO 4; nectarines: Weinberger, Nectaross, Venus, Orion, Alitop; plum tree (rootstock): Penta, Tetra; table grapes: Matilde).

The present activity is mainly carried out on kiwifruit, for the production of new female selections with yellow and green flesh, peach trees for the production of new types of fruit with low acidity and red, raspberry, for the production of new varieties.

Molecular genetics

The group's activities are directed to the study of the genome of the fruit tree species with special reference to peach, considered to be the model for the Rosaceae family. In particular, the group in recent years has been involved in structural analysis of the genome and the study of variability within the germplasm of peach trees in order to identify useful alleles in the activity of genetic improvement. The study includes the identification of molecular markers, their localization in association maps and their correlation with characters that are of agronomic importance such as disease resistance and quality of the fruit. Recently the group has coordinated the Italian participation to the international genome sequencing of peach (IPGI). As part of this initiative we were also involved in the molecular characterization using next generation sequencing (NGS) of 36 accessions of Prunus allowing the identification of about 1 million SNP markers distributed throughout the genome. Currently the goal is to identify a direct correlation between phenotype and genotype, i.e. to establish how the sequence differences between individuals are translated into different phenotypes observed among individuals of the same species.


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