NARO Institute of Fruit Tree Science (Fruit)


NARO Institute of Fruit Tree Science (NIFTS) conducts basic and leading experimental research required for an efficient and stable supply of excellent quality fruit in order to contribute to the advancement of fruit production and to the enrichment of dietary life in Japan.

Development of an innovative production system for fruit trees

This program aims to develop new varieties with high marketability as well as labor-saving agricultural technology to provide benefits through sustainable high-quality production of fruit.

Targets in the citrus breeding program focus on high eating quality, ease of eating, enriching functional components related to health benefits, and developing various varieties with different ripening times. Development of a new production system customized for processing food will aim at more than 20% reduction of the annual working time compared to the conventional system.

For apples, the breeding program aims to develop a new variety with high eating quality, intense red coloring, and disease resistance. New techniques in management of fruit set and coloring are being developed for labor saving in apple production.

For Japanese pears, our breeding program aims to develop a new variety with high eating quality and gametophytic self-compatibility so that artificial pollination is not needed, or a variety with fruitlet self-thinning traits which reduces the labor of fruit thinning. New technology, which enables reduction of fruit set management and mitigation of fruit disorders, is being developed to maintain high-quality fruit production.

For persimmons, our breeding program aims to develop a new pollination constant non-astringent (PCNA) variety with high eating quality, long shelf-life fruit, and stable fruit-bearing traits as well as a new dwarfing rootstock variety. Development of a new production system based on dwarfing rootstock will aim at 15% reduction of the annual working time compared to the conventional system. For grapes, stone fruits, and chestnuts, selections of breeding populations are in progress to develop a highly marketable variety.

To support our woody fruit crop breeding program, high-density genetic maps; DNA markers related to fruit set, disease resistance, and insect resistance; and a database of genomics and transcriptomics are under development and will ultimately lead to marker-assisted selection (MAS).

In addition, we develop maps in which the effects of global warming on sustainable fruit tree production and cultivation are evaluated and predicted. Adaptation technologies for late-frost injury, bud sprouting dysfunction, and reduced coloration of fruit skin are developed along with the elucidation of mechanisms of these physiological dysfunctions under global warming. The potential for orchard to serve as carbon dioxide reservoir is evaluated.

Development of an integrated pest management system

In the development of continuous crop protection technologies using biological function, and agricultural chemical alternative technologies that use microbes including mycoviruses, we also construct integrated pest management systems based on the balance of nature such as interaction between crops, vectors and pathogens. Further, we develop environmentally sustainable pest control technologies for soil-borne pathogens using warm water drip irrigation, etc.

In order to use indigenous natural enemies, we will develop evaluating and management systems for environment-friendly agricultural practices based on assessment of the biodiversity index determined by the presence of beneficial organisms in the agro-environment. We will also establish integrated pest management systems applicable to fruit trees in combination with the introduction of agricultural materials that conserve the indigenous natural enemies and ecological services of vegetation control and/or landscape plants.

We determine policies for eradication in newly invaded areas and for reducing the distribution in infested areas against invading and spreading pests and diseases such as citrus greening disease.

Elucidation of fruit functionality

This program aims to elucidate fruit functionality, to demonstrate effectiveness by strengthening cooperation with the medical field, and to provide highly reliable information. Analytical technologies for functional ingredients will be developed and standardized and evaluation technologies for fruit functionality will be developed based on our previously accumulated research results.

Elucidation of regulatory mechanisms governing fruit quality and development of new technologies for preserving and processing.

Based on a global analysis of fruit quality composition changes and gene expression profiling, we clarify mechanisms for maintaining and improving quality. Peeling methods using enzymes will be developed so that people find it easier to eat the fruit.

Links to research institutes within NARO

Corporate Number 7050005005207