Agronomy Research Expertise in Montpellier and Languedoc-Roussillon (South of France)

Agronomy : crops and cropping systems

Keywords :

Virtual Fruit–a model to gain insight into fruit quality

1. Ensuring top quality, high quantity production

1. Ensuring top quality, high quantity production

Simulation of temporal variations in the physiological profile of fruit of a wild genotype and a mutant for sugar transport to the fruit (values increase from green to red). Fruit quality is the result of many highly interacting physiological processes that are controlled by many genes whose intensity varies with the environment and cropping practices. The genetic, environmental and cropping factors controlling the intensity of the processes and their interactions have to be understood before being able to manage this quality, which is an especially difficult task. The conventional experimental approach does not generate a sufficiently integrated image of fruit functioning. The Virtual Fruit model was thus developed. It integrates seven different submodels that describe the main aspects of fruit functioning. It can simulate fruit growth and variations in the contents of dry matter and the main fruit sugars and acids, as well as fruit ripeness levels.

The use of Virtual Fruit revealed that application of water stress after a good irrigation period would substantially reduce growth, while fruits of continuously stressed plants continue growing, thus suggesting that fruit can adapt to stress situations. Virtual Fruit also revealed that a genetic change due to a mutation disrupting sugar transport to the fruit markedly upsets its functioning.

Virtual Fruit has been combined with genetic models, thus providing a promising way for model-assisted selection and for screening to find ideotypes that meet consumers’ fruit quality expectations. Virtual Fruit could also be especially useful for interpreting results obtained on the basis of functional genomics approaches.

Michel Génard,

Publication date: 30/05/2010


Génard M., Bertin N., Gautier H., Lescourret F., Quilot B. 2010. Virtual profiling: a new way to analyse phenotypes. The plant Journal, 62, 344–355
DOI link/ publisher website

Génard M., Bertin N., Borel C., Bussières P., Gautier H., Habib R., Léchaudel M., Lecomte A., Lescourret F., Lobit P., Quilot B. 2007. Towards a virtual fruit focusing on quality: modelling features and potential uses. Journal of Experimental Botany, 58, 917-928.

DOI link/ publisher website

Lescourret, F., Génard M. 2005. A virtual peach fruit model simulating changes in fruit quality during the final stage of fruit growth. Tree Physiology, 25, 1303-1315.
DOI link/ publisher website


Diagram showing links between Virtual Fruit submodels. Bold: submodel Normal: variables



Update on 19/04/12


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