Institute of Pomology
Pomology Institute of Shanxi Agricultural University was founded in 1958. It is the largest institution of fruit trees research in China, as well as the only provincial-level institution of fruit trees research in Shanxi Province. It covers an area of about 606 ha, including more than 33 ha for construction and more than 466 ha for scientific experiment. The institute has two office buildings, including a laboratory area of 4000 m2. The total value of scientific research equipment is 33 million yuan.
At present, the number of staff working in the Institute is 278, including 167 engaged in scientific research. 73 staff have been awarded a senior professional title and 77 an intermediate title. 15 have a doctor’s degree and 70 a master’s degree. One expert in the Institute has obtained the special government allowances of the State Council. Meanwhile, there are also two Ministry authorized scientists and four masters of the experimental station under the national technology system. There is also one chief expert and six post experts under the technology system of Shanxi Province. Another two experts have been awarded the title of ‘Academic Leaders’, four the ‘Top Backbone Talents’ and one the ‘Outstanding Young Talent’ of Shanxi Province. Four research teams of the Institute have been granted the title of “Workers’ Pioneer”. There are also three workstations for doctors in the Institute.
In the Institute, there are nine research departments, 16 innovation teams and five service centers. Researchers in the institute take northern deciduous fruit trees as the major research subjects, and focus mainly on collection, preservation, identification, evaluation and breeding of 15 tree species, including apple, pear, grape, Chinese jujube, walnut, peach, cherry, apricot, plum, almond, raspberry, hawthorn and strawberry, etc. Moreover, researches are also developed on high-quality and high-efficient cultivation, green prevention and control of diseases and pests, fruit tree biotechnology, gene improvement, fruit storage and processing, breeding of improved varieties, quality detection on fruit and seedlings, etc.
At present, there are more than 4000 germplasms of northern fruit trees preserved here. And a number of national-level scientific research tasks are being carried out in the Institute, such as two national germplasm resource centers and two field observation stations for jujube and grape respectively, a national sharing platform for crop resources, a key laboratory on gene resources and germplasm creation for crops on the Loess Plateau, an innovation center for wine grape and a breeding base of improved apple varieties financed by the Ministry of Agriculture, a research center for technology on detoxication and rapid propagation of horticultural plants joint financed by the state and local governments, and three experimental stations under the national technology system for grape, apple, pear and jujube etc. Meanwhile, there are also provincial-level research projects being carried out, such as the Key Laboratory of Creation and Utilization of Fruit Tree Germplasms, Engineering and Technology Research Center for Grape and Wine, Engineering and Technology Research Center for Walnut, Service Platform Construction of Fruit Tree Germplasm Resources, as well as Shanxi Alliance for Jujube Industry, etc.
In the past 60 years since the foundation of the Institute, more than 160 achievements in scientific research have been approved and identified, and another 121 have been awarded prizes, including 6 National Prizes for Progress in Science and Technology, 10 Prizes for Progress in Science and Technology from the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Education, 83 Prizes for Progress in Science and Technology from Shanxi Province. 114 new cultivars of fruit trees and 8 series of dwarf rootstocks have also been approved. Meanwhile, 47 academic works have been compiled and printed, and 2285 academic papers have been published in professional journals home and abroad. Journal of Fruit Tree Resources published by the Institute is an authoritative journal in the fruit tree industry in China.
The Institute has developed international cooperation with more than a dozen countries, including the United States, Britain, Japan, the Netherlands, Italy, Australia and Armenia, etc. It has become a sister institute of the Fruit Tree Research Institute in Rome, Italy, the Wine Grape Research Center in Armenian, and the Fruit Tree Research Institute in Pitesti, Romania. Based on the cooperation, more than 160 new varieties of fruit trees have been introduced. In 2004, the Institute was awarded the title of "National Demonstration Base for Foreign Intelligence Introduction" by the State Bureau of Foreign Affairs.
In aspect of research on fruit tree germplasms, more than 4,000 germplasms of various fruit trees have been collected and preserved here. Among them, there are more than 1,000 jujube germplasms preserved in the National Resource Center for Jujube Germplasms in the Institute, accounting for about 90 % of total jujube germplasms all over China. And the Center is the only national-level resource center for jujube germplasms in the world. At the same time, the grape resource center here has collected more than 650 germplasms, among which the paired germplasms with the same genotype yet different ploidies are unique in the world. It also preserves the largest number of wine grapes and rootstock resources in China.
In aspect of breeding of new varieties, SH series, which is a dwarf rootstock for apple, has made outstanding contributions to the development of apple industry in China. The grape Zaoheibao is the first Eurasian tetraploid grape variety in China. Yuluxiang pear has been described as China's first pear by the industry professionals, and currently the best pear variety in China. The jujube Linhuang No.1 has been reported many times by Topics in Focus for its crack resistance, which brings a new hope for jujube industry in Shanxi.
In aspect of research on applied technology, polyploid breeding technique for grape was created here. Propagation for grape by cutting with single bud in nutrition pots is the most important technique for seedling breeding of grape and wine grape industry in China. What’s more, techniques such as young embryo rescue in vitro culture for Chinese jujube, cutting of dwarf rootstocks, protected cultivation of fruit trees, controlled atmosphere storage of fruits in loess cave dwelling, have all made outstanding contributions to the development of fruit industry in Shanxi and even in China.
In aspect of participation in construction of Shanxi Agricultural Valley, the whole institute is one of the three parks taking part in the construction. At present, it is actively cooperating with the Management Committee of Shanxi Agricultural Valley to fully promote the construction of ‘Nonggu Avenue’ and ‘Nanshan Reservoir’. Meanwhile, based on the advantages of science and technology, location and land resources, the Institute is being built into a modern demonstration base integrating education, production, learning, research and utilization, which can fully show the demonstration and leading effects of Shanxi Agricultural Valley.
In aspect of promotion for research achievements, new varieties selected in the Institute, such as the pear Yuluxiang, the dwarf rootstocks for apple, the jujube Linhuang No.1 and the grape Zaoheibao have been widely extended all over the province, which are gradually becoming the pillar varieties for the strategy of ‘one county, one industry’ and the targeted poverty alleviation of Shanxi Province. At the same time, technologies developed in the Institute, such as on protected cultivation, seedling breeding and fast construction of orchard have also established a solid foundation for the development of the fruit tree industry.
In aspect of training on agricultural technology and on popular science, the Institute is recognized as one of the eleven training bases for modern agricultural technology by the Ministry of Agriculture and the Department of Agriculture of Shanxi Province. It was also awarded titles of ‘National Demonstration Base for Agricultural Science Popularization on Youth’, ‘Training Base for Modern Agricultural Technology of Shanxi Province’ and ‘Training Base for Entrepreneurship of College Graduates as Village Heads of Shanxi Province’. It is also the first batch of ‘National Demonstration Base for Training of New Professional Farmers’. There is a training center in the Institute, covering an area of 5,600 m2. Since 2009, the center has undertaken various training tasks from the province, cities and counties. Means of combinations of classroom teaching and discussion, practical instruction and base visit were adopted in the training. A total of more than 9,000 agricultural workers from 67 cities and counties all over the province were trained here, including over 6000 grass-roots personnel engaged in agro-technical extension, and over 3000 collage graduates as village heads, new professional farmers and young farm owners. As stated above, the Institute is believed to provide a suitable education and practice base for the training of rural practical talents, and fully promote the development of agricultural productivity in Shanxi Province.