Apple breeders around the world are trying to please the consumer with the perfect apple. The success of varieties in the demanding market environment mostly depends on the consumer’s taste. To investigate these preferences, the acceptance of 11 varieties was tested with 550 Swiss consumers within the European project ISAFRUIT, in Framework “6”. New varieties have shown significantly higher acceptance ratings than traditional Golden Delicious and Jonagold. Mean ratings of Swiss consumers liking are quite similar to the results obtained with European consumers. Another focus was the identification of preferences based on certain sensory apple characteristics and which consumer clusters could be made on these preferences. Evaluation of the data shows 3 clusters of about the same size. Consumers differ in their variety preferences: one cluster prefers sweet to rather acidic, aromatic and crisp apples with a firm fruit flesh, tolerating a slightly lower fineness of the fruit flesh. A second group of consumers prefers sweeter, fruity and aromatic apples, partially with a floral aroma and a higher fineness of the texture, whereas they are less demanding on firmness. The preferences of the third group are intermediate. All consumers share the rejection of soft and mealy apples with low aroma intensity and a tendency to a grassy aroma.
Herbicide-resistant weeds are a growing problem throughout the world. Monitoring herbicide resistance in Switzerland allows us to understand the mechanisms behind it and to better manage the use of herbicides.
Agroscope compared crop protection strategies in apple production. Reducing the use of plant-protection products lowered the local ecotoxological risks, but resulted in trade-offs between environmental and economic performance.
Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) bacterium proteins protect Bt maize from being fed on by specific insects. A new, systematic analysis of international field data confirms that non-target organisms in Bt maize are largely spared.