The research of the Institute is aimed at the improvement of horticultural crops grouped in vegetables, ornamentals and medicinal and aromatic plants. In particular, the results are a valuable contribution to promoting agricultural policies focused on ecologically sound farming and a sustainable horticultural production of high-quality plants.
The Institute examines and utilizes the genetic diversity of plant genetic resources for food and horticulture. Wild species, landraces and old cultivars are analyzed for their value-giving properties. Besides the important methods of conventional breeding such as fertility and resistance investigations, state-of-the-art biotechnological and molecular methods are applied. Based on this, methods and strategies are developed to combine plant traits and to increase the diversity of the horticultural species.
More than 400 plant species are used in horticulture, among them treasured medicinal and spice plants, vegetables and ornamentals. Due to this large number, only selected species can be dealt with intensively. The selection is based on current requirements and depends on the project. Breeding research projects are currently being carried out, among others, for asparagus, carrot, Pelargonium, hortensia, fennel and lemon balm. Because of the diversity of plant species investigated, the Institute is able to flexibly adapt the methods to other important horticultural crops.
Due to its well established working areas in the methodological field and the plant species investigated, the Institute has two outstanding key competences:
For more information on the Institute's commitment to 'Apiaceae' and 'interspecific and intergeneric hybridization', see info boxes below.