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International Cherry Symposium, the world elite of cherries will gather at Macfrut

Enrollment is open for the International Spring School for young researchers and professionals in the international cherry industry scheduled for 2–3 May 2022 in Bertinoro (FC) as part of the International Cherry Symposium.

Sustainable orchard management in a changing environment: this is the theme that the International Spring School for young researchers and sector professionals will explore from 2 to 3 May 2022 at the CEUB — University Residential Centre in Bertinoro (FC). Organised by the University of Bologna, the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia and the Marche Polytechnic University, in collaboration with Macfrut, it is set to kick off the International Cherry Symposium, a full week (until 6 May) dedicated to cherries as part of Macfrut, the international fresh produce industry trade fair, to be held at the Rimini Expo Centre.

The event will be held in English with a limited number of participants, with 30 places reserved for students (PhD students and postdoctoral research fellows) and 30 places for professionals from all over the world. After submitting their CVs, the selected participants will have the chance to stay at the facility in Bertinoro throughout the event.

The two-day programme (2–3 May) — consisting of 10 seminars on key topics related to sustainable orchard management, along with interactive activities involving the PhD students, professionals and the lecturers — will be managed and coordinated by the organising universities, with the participation of international speakers and cherry tree specialists.

Lara Maistrello, from the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, will open the session by addressing an issue that is becoming increasingly pressing, that of invasive insect species, which is being aggravated by climate change and often causes serious damage to fruit crops. Josè Quero Garcia (INRAE Bordeaux) will then give a presentation on the pros and cons of biotechnology applied to genetic improvement programmes in order to deal with the various biotic and abiotic stresses caused by climate change. The afternoon session will be dedicated to the physiology and management of cherry trees: Davide Neri, from the Marche Polytechnic University, will be covering the topic of the physiology and management of the root system in the context of orchard sustainability. Greg Lang of Michigan State University (USA) will then talk about cutting-edge farming methods aimed at optimising production efficiency and the use of resources in orchards. The closing speech of the afternoon session, which will be delivered by Matthew Whiting, from Washington State University (USA), will focus on cultivation strategies and other topics such as the precision management of orchards through the adoption of innovative mechanisation practices.

The morning of the second day will be dedicated to cherry physiology. Luca Dondini, from the University of Bologna, will open the session by discussing the topic of pollination and related issues in the light of climate change. Brunella Morandi, from the same university, will then explain how cherry growing and the qualitative characteristics of the various cherry species are heavily influenced by environmental conditions and the availability of essential resources such as water. To close the morning session, Moritz Knoche, from the University of Hannover (Germany), will give a talk on the physiological causes of cracking and how to manage it: cracking is a major physiological plant disorder that is often found in many fruit species before harvest.

In the afternoon, more speakers will take the floor: Michael Blanke, from the University of Bonn (Germany), will talk about cultivation strategies aimed at mitigating the effects of climate change. Such approaches include multifunctional covering systems, which are widely used for protection against hail, rain and/or insects, as well as ground mulches, and can significantly influence the microclimate of orchards. To conclude, Juan Pablo Zoffoli, from the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, will be addressing a very important issue, namely, post-harvest quality and which cultivation practices influence it. Last but not least, the Accademia dellAgricoltura will deliver a closing speech on how cultivation techniques and climate affect the nutritional properties of fruit.

This two-day event, aimed at future generations of technicians and professionals in the field of fruit growing, therefore holds great promise. The registration and selection process is currently underway, but places are subject to availability. If you are interested, you will find more details on the event and its logistics at www.cherrysymposium.com.


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