Research

Research activities determine the total success formula of the Institute. The knowledge obtained and developed in the research projects provides for successful performance of other activities.

The scientific work of the Institute is characterized by the amount of research projects, their scale and funding, by the qualification of the researchers, number of publications and patents, participation in international scientists’ organizations and different international projects.

Institute is the centre of fruit (both growing and food) research in Latvia with a sufficiently high intellectual potential and an advanced research infrastructure and capability to create new knowledge.

Institute is successful in the balancing applied and basic research, which allows to publish the results in the pre-reviewed editions, as well as to develop innovative technologies and products thus contributing to the competitiveness of fruit industry, smart and sustainable rural development.

LSIFG has relatively high evaluation rate per doctor of science in comparison with other agricultural research institutions in Latvia.

LSIFG has the potential to become one of the leading fruit research centre in the Baltic and Scandinavian countries because of Institute's fast development over the past decade: increased human resources, improved research infrastructure and opportunity to expand. It is supported also by the fact that in the Baltic region fruit and berry targeted breeding is taking place only in Latvia, on limited scale also in Lithuania, Estonia and Finland.

Owing to research results of the Institute, fruit growing in Latvia has developed, areas of commercial plantations increase, Latvian grown fruits and berries are available on market and at schools!

Latvia can compete with other countries in fruit variety breeding (trials go on at institutes and nurseries of 13 countries). 4 cultivars have been internationally registered. For Japanese quince the 1st fruit cultivar has been registered worldwide, and processing technologies have been developed for this crop.

Innovative processing technologies have shown good competitivenes:

• Success at the international exhibition “Fruit Logistica 2012” – product developed and patented by Institute and produced by „Amberbloom” Ltd. - Dried Candied Cido was nominated among the top ten new products of the year “Innovation 2012”;
• At the international exhibition “Riga Food 2012”,  in competition "Latvian ecological products of 2012", the gold medal was granted to "Rūdolfs Mom's Tasty Puree", produced by "Lat Eco Food" Ltd., which was developed by the support of Institute scientists;
• Successful implementation of processing products in medicine and cosmetics, etc.

In 2011 6 National Research Centres were formed in Latvia, in the most important fields of science. For each Centre long-term (2011-2030) and medium-term (till year 2015) strategies have been developed. Inside these strategies it is planned to improve the research infrastructure, perform common planning of research strategy, as well as increase competitiveness of science.

LSFGI is the leader of “National Research Centre for Use of Agricultural Resources and Food” (NRC ARF). Six the most advanced and competitive Latvian scientific institutions working in agriculture and food sciences are involved in the realization of the strategy of this Centre.

During last years the Institute has performed or continues scientific research projects funded by the national government - grants of the Latvian Council of Science (LZP), several State Program Projects, Ministry of Agriculture subsidy projects and ESF and ERDF co-financed projects. For example:

• "Scientific capacity building in fruit-growing, forestry and information technology sectors, providing research on environmentally friendly growing strategies, product development and introduction aided by computer technologies”
• "Development and adaptation of innovative risk reducing technologies for fruit and berry growing in conditions of Latvia ”
• "Use of sea buckthorn vegetative parts for development of prophylactic products with high antioxidative effect “ “Development of effective techniques and new plant pathogen diagnostic components for obtaining virus-free planting material of fruit crops “

During the last 5 years our Institute (Dobele HPBES) has also taken part or participates in several international projects.
The most important:

• EUREKA project “Development of new products from plant material for health improvement and cosmetics “
• INTERREG project of the Latvia-Lithuania Cross Border Cooperation Programme  “Development of a technology transfer centre for fruit industry”
• Bilateral project with University of Iowa (USA) “ Evaluation of North American apple rootstocks in Latvia“
• Multilateral cooperation project “Innovative seabuckthorn products and technologies”
• EU Project „Core Collection of Northern European Gene Pool of Ribes” • EU COST action „Bacterial diseases of stone fruits and nuts”
• EU COST action “East-West Collaboration for Grapevine Diversity Exploration and Mobilization of Adaptive Traits for Breeding” EU COST action “Sustainable production of high-quality cherries for the European market”, etc.

The intellectual level at the Institute is high (36% of the research staff are Doctors of Science, 24% Masters of Science, 67% from which are doing their PhD studies). The majority of scientists have trained abroad and obtained international experience and authority in their field of research. Our researchers regularly participate in international scientific events and publish in acknowledged scientific journals. The amount of original articles  cited in Thomson Reuters Web of Science, SCOPUS, during the last five years has significantly increased.

The Institute (Dobele HPBES) has registered twelve patents and Breeder’s rights for 24 cultivars of fruit crops and 6 lilac varieties. Five varieties have been registered (as trade mark) abroad.

The Institute works in good cooperation with other research institutions in Latvia. The majority of research projects are performed together with other research institutes.

Annually the institute forms a base for Bachelor, Master and Doctor studies for the students of the Latvia Unversity of Agriculture and the University of Latvia, for training of students from the Latvia University of Agriculture and Bulduri Horticulture College.

The main areas and tasks of research:

1. To coordinate and perform scientific research in the field of fruit and berry crop genetic diversity, morphology, physiology, economically justified technologies of cultivation and fruit processing:

Studies of the genetic, physiological and biochemical diversity of fruit and berry species, cultivars and hybrids adapted to the climate of Latvia, identifying traits valuable for the obtaining of safe and healthy food products, their hereditary mechanisms and genes promising for use in breeding;

Working out of effective methods for the selection of new cultivars, their propagation and cultivation;

Breeding of fruit and berry cultivars which are resistant to diseases, adapted to the and climate of Latvia and local conditions and highly productive, by using the Latvian genetic resources and breeding material of foreign origin;

Development of economically justified, environment-friendly (integrated and organic) technologies for growing of more popular fruit crops and cultivars in different soil and climate conditions;

Studies on the occurrence of organisms hazardous to fruit crops in Latvia, their peculiarities of development, biology, ecology and host-pathogen interaction, with the aim to establish scientific background for the development of economically justified, environment-friendly (integrated and organic) technologies for growing of fruit crops;

Working out of recommendations about storage regimes for different fruit crops and cultivars in traditional and low-oxygen storage;

Development of new waste-free technologies preserving functionally active components for the obtaining of innovative food products from traditional and untraditional fruit crops;

Development of models for fruit crop species and variety structure in specialized fruit-growing farms in different regions of Latvia;

Working out of the scientific background for the establishment of a system for the production of healthy fruit crop planting material in Latvia, development and maintenance of base and pre-base material collections.

2. To organize scientific conferences, seminars, lectures, exibitions and other activities, to publish informative materials;

3. To participate in international scientific research projects and programs, including EU Framework 7, EU Technological platforms „Plants for Future” and „Food for Life”.

4. To maintain the sum of know-how with the aim of provide scientific expertise for the argumentation of the Latvian position and Latvian participation in the EU institutions in the field of fruit-growing, as well as international organizations: FAO, EUFRIN, EUCARPIA, IPGRI, ECPGR, UPOV and EU CPVO.