Fruit and Berry Crop Physiology and Quality

Course content

 The focus is on fruit growth and fruit quality in relation to the use as fresh fruits or for processing. How is fruit growth and quality affected by the plants' physiological and genetic basis and how can it be influenced by different growing techniques and environmental factors? Similarities and differences among the fruit crop types (pit fruits, stone fruits, berries and nuts), with regard to demands in growing conditions are discussed. Furthermore, we analyze which physiological parameters are important in the different fruit species for determining yield and important quality components. Emphasis is on temperate fruits, nuts, berries and fruit vegetables, grown mainly in open field or in tunnel systems. The reference growing systems are the common commercial systems, including organic growing. The course also addresses examples of the genetic and quality variation among cultivars and the importance of different quality attributes in relation to postharvest use (fresh consumption, cooking, juice processing or fruit wine making).
In general the crop specific aspects of the following main topics will be covered:
- Yield and quality components (organ development and interactions) and determinant factors
- Allocation of dry matter and nutrient  among sources and sinks in fruiting plants
- Control of vigour and plant structure by pruning and management of nutrients and irrigation
- Effects of preharvest factors (climate, a-biotic or biotic stresses) on internal and external quality of fruits
- Content and development of secondary and bioactive compounds in fruits.
- Maturation, ripening and assessment of optimal harvest and quality aspects of fruits and berries.
- Post harvest usability and sensory aspects of different cultivars and fruit types. In addition to fresh use,  special attention is given to production and quality of fruit juices.
Biotechnological aspects are addressed at a limited level.


MSc Programme in Agriculture

Learning outcome

The course is targeted to students interested in plant science (Horticulture and Agriculture) and food science students who are particularly interested in fruit and berry crops and the quality and use of the raw materials/food products these crops provide.

- the physiological basis for production of fruiting crops (including fruit vegetables such as tomato and cucumber).
- overview of development of the major plant organs with focus on the fruit and its quality and understand how and why it varies with genotype and preharvest growing conditions
- describe the variation among the major cultivars used of fruits and berries in terms of development and quality parameters.
- reflect on the importance of fruit and berries for human health

- Apply basic knowledge of physiology and biochemistry from plant and food science at the whole plant and organ level.
- analyse a fruiting crop based on the crop specific yield and quality components.
- explain how and why different techniques are used in the fruit industry and how it affects plant growth and product/fruit quality.

- analyse the methods used to obtain optimal productivity and product quality.
- discuss trade offs in management, such as between optimal sensory quality and storability, between yield and quality or pesticide use vs organic growing

Besides lectures the course will include practicals, where the students are working with cultivar evaluation, quality analysis or aspects of fruit growing physiology (plant and organ development etc). Part of the hands on teaching will be field based in the experimental fruit collections at the Pometum.
The practicals will be made in groups, while the individual student is given the opportunity, in a major report written throughout the course, to focus on an area of special interests. Thus individual competences with emphasis on either fruit growing physiology or fruit quality aspects of fruits as raw materials for industry processing or fresh consumption can be developed. The topic of the major report are to be presented to the class in a short lecture based on a selected journal paper.
2 or 3 excursions will be arranged in connection with the different course subjects.

Literature lists will be available from the course responsible.

Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 20 minutter
Written assignment, ca. 3 uger
Type of assessment details
The portfolio includes a major report and 2 out of 4 additional products (e.g. exercise reports or presentation)
Weight of exam components: Evaluation of major report 50 %, oral examination in portfolio contents and curriculum 50%.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
One internal examinator.

The exam is an oral exam, as for the ordinary exam. Submission of an individual major report 1 week before the oral reexam is required. The topic may be as for the ordinary exam but in a revised version.

Criteria for exam assessment

see the learning outcome

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 35
  • Class Instruction
  • 5
  • Preparation
  • 40
  • Practical exercises
  • 30
  • Excursions
  • 21
  • Project work
  • 75
  • English
  • 206


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 block

Block 1
The course is based at the KU campus in Taastrup and in the Pometum.
The number of seats may be reduced in the late registration period
Study Board of Natural Resources, Environment and Animal Science
Contracting department
  • Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences
  • Department of Food Science
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator
  • Torben Bo Toldam-Andersen   (4-7664766342726e6770306d7730666d)

Torben Bo Toldam-Andersen
Mikael Agerlin Pedersen
+ guest lectures

Saved on the 28-02-2023

Are you BA- or KA-student?

Are you bachelor- or kandidat-student, then find the course in the course catalog for students:

Courseinformation of students