Biotechnology of fruit crops (2020/2021)

Course code
Name of lecturers
Giovanni Battista Tornielli, Tiziana Pandolfini
Giovanni Battista Tornielli
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
I semestre dal Oct 1, 2020 al Jan 29, 2021.

Lesson timetable

Go to lesson schedule

Learning outcomes

The course aims to provide students with the knowledge of technological, physiological and molecular aspects concerning the production of fruits of food interest. The course illustrates the molecular mechanisms that regulate the flower/fruit transition and the strategies for the improvement of fruit set and seedless fruit production as well as the physiology and molecular control of ripening with particular regard to the aspects that contribute to the final quality of the fruit. Examples of successful biotechnological approaches used to modify specific characteristics of the fruit and their impact on production, quality and post-harvest phases will be provided.


• The transition from vegetative to reproductive development. Photosynthate partitioning during reproductive development. The regulation of flowering: endogenous and exogenous factors. Photoperiodism. The molecular basis of flower development.
• Formation of gametes, pollination, ovule fertilization, fruit initiation. The parthenocarpic fruit development. Hormonal control of fruit set. Biotechnological approaches for fruit set improvement and production of seedless fruits.
• Fruit development: from herbaceous growth to maturation phase. Processes, metabolisms and molecular events characterizing the maturation process in fleshy fruits. The hormonal control of ripening: physiology of climacteric and non-climacteric fruits. The interaction with the growing environment and the development of quality and productivity traits. Managing the fruit quality during the post-harvest phase: technological, physiological and molecular aspects of fruit storage and shelf-life.
• Mutants and selection of quality traits in fruit crop species. Biotechnological approaches for improving fruit traits: examples and case studies.

Reference books
Author Title Publisher Year ISBN Note
GRAHAM B. SEYMOUR, MERVIN POOLE, JAMES J. GIOVANNONI, GREGORY A. TUCKER The Molecular Biology and Biochemistry of Fruit Ripening Wiley-Blackwell 2013 978-0-8138-2039-2

Assessment methods and criteria

For both attending and non-attending students, the oral examination will concern the topics presented during the lessons. The exam will ascertain the students’ ability to understand the physiological and molecular basis of fruit development and evaluate biotechnological applications aimed at improving fruit quality and production.