The Fruit Growing Institute, Plovdiv (FGI) was established in 1952. Nowadays it is the main scientific center in the field of fruit growing in Bulgaria. The organizational and programme structure of its research activities consists of two departments which include all the scientific directions of fruit research in our country – variety evaluation, introduction, and breeding; biotechnology; training and pruning; weed control; mineral nutrition and water regime:

Department – Breeding, Genetic Resources and Biotechnologies

The investigations in the department are aimed at the following actual scientific problems:

  • collection, preservation, study and use of the genetic resources of fruit plants.
  • genetic, breeding, immunological and biotechnological investigations for creating of new cultivars and rootstocks for fruit growing.
  • developing of the methods and means for rising the productivity of the fruit crops and mostly the quality of the fruit production.

Department – Orchard Management and Plant Protection

The department develops and introduces scientifically based technologies for growing fruit crops in accordance with the principles of sustainable agriculture and ecological fruit production. The main areas of research are:

  • water regime of plants and soils under irrigation; irrigation scheduling and management; application of agro-chemicals with the irrigation water.
  • mineral nutrition of fruit plants and fertilization.

In the Institute there are several research laboratories: agrochemical, soil, and water, chemical and technological, entomology, biotechnological, isotopic-14C, of virology and plant immunity, phytopathology laboratory with its laminar boxes, autoclaves, thermostats, dry sterilization equipment. Research and production laboratory for in vitro propagation of fruit-tree and soft-fruit planting material with a depot-isolator, a glasshouse complex for adaptation, and a field for growing up the micro propagated plants.

The arable land is about 200 ha for field investigation, nurseries, irrigation systems, and a genebank collection gardens of about 2000 local and foreign accessions.

The specific equipment: flame photometers, absorption spectrometer, ELISA-test equipment, gas-liquid chromatography, invert microscope, laminar flow cabinets, grow chambers, radio-isotope equipment, neutron probe, etc.

Recently, the FGI establishes a large network of contacts all over the world. Its scientists are involved in an increasing number of international projects and activities. In the last decade, the Institute organized and hosted several symposiums under the auspices of the ISHS.