Fruit quality experiments in pear and blackcurrant indicated that fruit set was reduced by
up to one third, where insects were excluded from the blossoms. The number of developed seeds in pear can also be significantly reduced, which can mean more misshapen fruit at harvest.
In addition, the effects of insect pollinators on fruit nutritional traits have not, to date, been studied. We are looking at these influences on a range of fruit quality measures, both physical and chemical.
A Sainsbury’s funded research project on pear, is focusing on the efficacy of the main insect visitors in transferring pollen, typical populations of pear pollinators year-on-year, the habitat needs of the key players and the resulting economic impacts on pear growing.
Results will lead to a better understanding of how systems can be optimised sustainably, to mitigate the effects of pollination shortfalls and to manage insect pollination in fruit crops, in the future.
Projects were also sponsored by the Worshipful Company of Fruiterers, GSK, HDC and HortLINK.