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Migal Galilee Technology Center

Overcoming fertility & quality constrains in deciduous plantations in Northern Israel (a three-year project)


The Northern part of Israel has become the fruit basket for the State of Israel. Economically, deciduous tree plantations contribute some 53 percent of all agriculture production in the area. Still, in comparison with other similar parts of the world, the local plantations are far from reaching their biological potential. Researchers in Migal were able to identify the possible causes for the gap between current results and the potential production, using novel molecular genetics tools. It is therefore suggested to develop a multidiscipline R&D effort to address the needs. Such an approach might have a large-scale impact both in the regional and national level.

Combining of molecular biology tools with applied research is innovative and not frequently implemented.

The project aims to incorporate graduate students, which will lead them to form an academic career in modern agricultural R&D and production systems.


The main objective of the project is to combine molecular biology technologies with applied research to address fertility and quality constrains. Under this objective three main areas are identified: a) Improving fertility and quality of apples and pears, plums and apricots by studying the genetic mechanism of the pollination process, b) Developing molecular tools to measure ripening parameters, c) Developing innovative techniques to identify functional food elements in fruit trees. 

Research Approach:

The whole project will include leading scientists from the following expertise: Plant genetics, Plant physiology, Post harvest, Proteomix and Organic chemistry. Graduate students will be trained throughout the process. It will combine all main research divisions in Migal: Biotechnology, Northern R&D and Post harvest with the participation of tree plantations farmers in the area. The three teams will be coordinated by one steering committee to monitor objectives, resources and timetable. This critical mass project will serve as a springboard for integration and further investment of research funds. Additional participants will take part in the project: Ministries of Agriculture and Science, Fruits & vegetables marketing board, JNF, The Extension Service in the Ministry of agriculture, Agriculture Research Organization (ARO) and others.

David Cohen