Projects / Programmes source: ARIS


Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
4.03.00  Biotechnical sciences  Plant production   

Code Science Field
4.01  Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences  Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries 
biotic and abiotic stress, phenolic compounds, terpenoids, nitrogen containing compounds, physiology of growth and development, production technologies, produce quality, fruit growing, viticulture, vegetable growing, ornamentals, phytomedicine, mechanization
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Data for the last 5 years (citations for the last 10 years) on July 23, 2024; A3 for period 2018-2022
Data for ARIS tenders ( 04.04.2019 – Programme tender , archive )
Database Linked records Citations Pure citations Average pure citations
WoS  598  12,755  10,899  18.23 
Scopus  753  15,618  13,495  17.92 
Researchers (31)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  04124  PhD Rajko Bernik  Plant production  Researcher  2022 - 2024  530 
2.  35543  PhD Tanja Bohinc  Biotechnical sciences  Researcher  2022 - 2024  245 
3.  51865  Saša Gačnik  Plant production  Junior researcher  2022 - 2024  25 
4.  36972  Anton Gleščič    Technical associate  2022 - 2024 
5.  55384  PhD Mariana Cecilia Grohar  Plant production  Researcher  2022 - 2024  37 
6.  14033  PhD Metka Hudina  Plant production  Researcher  2022 - 2024  660 
7.  56336  Eva Indihar    Technical associate  2022  11 
8.  54732  Tea Ivančič  Plant production  Junior researcher  2022 - 2024  17 
9.  25505  PhD Jerneja Jakopič  Plant production  Researcher  2022 - 2024  214 
10.  24183  Matej Jeraša    Technical associate  2022 - 2024 
11.  13010  PhD Nina Kacjan Maršić  Plant production  Researcher  2022 - 2024  388 
12.  56906  Petra Kunc  Plant production  Junior researcher  2022 - 2024 
13.  56592  Gašper Leskovar  Plant production  Researcher  2022 
14.  53623  PhD Aljaž Medič  Biology  Researcher  2022 - 2024  55 
15.  23631  PhD Maja Mikulič Petkovšek  Plant production  Researcher  2022 - 2024  397 
16.  14541  PhD Gregor Osterc  Plant production  Researcher  2022 - 2024  347 
17.  38513  Tilen Petrič    Technical associate  2022 - 2024 
18.  58145  MSc Kris Pirih  Plant production  Junior researcher  2023 - 2024 
19.  20496  Tomaž Pliberšek    Technical associate  2022 - 2024 
20.  25866  Jaka Rupnik    Technical associate  2022 - 2024 
21.  20686  PhD Denis Rusjan  Plant production  Researcher  2022 - 2024  458 
22.  29419  PhD Valentina Schmitzer  Plant production  Researcher  2022 - 2024  154 
23.  30707  PhD Ana Slatnar  Plant production  Researcher  2022 - 2024  323 
24.  51858  Tina Smrke  Plant production  Junior researcher  2022 - 2024  27 
25.  07552  PhD Anita Solar  Plant production  Researcher  2022 - 2024  521 
26.  30340  Greta Sorta    Technical associate  2022 
27.  06404  PhD Franci Štampar  Plant production  Researcher  2022 - 2024  1,186 
28.  17763  PhD Stanislav Trdan  Biotechnical sciences  Researcher  2022 - 2024  1,112 
29.  11759  PhD Valentina Usenik  Plant production  Researcher  2022 - 2024  425 
30.  20165  PhD Robert Veberič  Plant production  Head  2022 - 2024  578 
31.  53625  PhD Tilen Zamljen  Plant production  Researcher  2022 - 2024  44 
Organisations (1)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0481  University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty  Ljubljana  1626914  67,277 
Horticultural plant is at the very center of research at our program group. The physiology and metabolism are studied in detail in fruit plants, vegetables, grapevine, or ornamental plants. Through research, we want to develop processes for optimal use of natural resources, achieve large and constant yields of excellent quality. Current production methods need to be transformed and a more sustainable approach must be implemented. New challenges in production need to be addressed, such as sudden and extreme weather events due to the changing climate, the emergence of new pests and diseases, consumer demands for food produced with minimal or no synthetic chemicals, limited natural resources for production, etc. Horticultural plants must be sufficiently robust and adaptable, and their crops must not only be nutritionally safe, but also rich in compounds, important for human health. To make a significant contribution to modern horticultural production, we will focus our research on three areas: (i) studying the response of plants to environmental factors, (ii) improving and developing new technological approaches in production, and (iii) identifying metabolites and monitoring plant metabolism. Despite being a group of researchers strongly involved in plant production and various aspects of horticulture, our research extends to the areas of plant physiology, stress physiology, mineral nutrition, biotic protection, plant metabolism, fruit quality and physiology ... Our research is complex and includes interdisciplinary cooperation with other researchers/groups not only within the horticultural area, but wider. In addition to primary metabolites, secondary metabolites are particularly important for plant quality and physiological response. Consumers choose and enjoy horticultural crops not only for their attractive appearance and good taste, but also for the purpose of improving their health and well-being. Therefore, plants must be rich in vitamins, minerals, and various bioactive compounds. The content of these metabolites can be greatly influenced by optimizing various technological measures and environmental factors. Plant secondary metabolites are important not only in plant function but also in plant-plant and plant-animal interactions. All this can be interwoven to the development of new approaches in biotic plant protection against pests and diseases, for example with the use of allelopathic compounds. Dissemination of knowledge in scientific publications and presentation of results at scientific conferences enables networking with the global research community. Professional articles, workshops and professional meetings strengthen cooperation with the professional public and growers. The popularization of science through various social media and social networks allows us to contact consumers and bring them closer to the knowledge of horticultural plants, their production, and the quality of of the final products.
Significance for science
In the proposed program we will analyze the biochemical response of horticultural plants to various technological processes and environmental factors and thus gain important physiological knowledge on the growth and development of plants, especially in terms of various negative or. positive factors. Knowledge of the physiological response of plants in conjunction with the plant-environment interaction allows rapid responses to prevent negative stress on plant growth and development, crop failure, or a reduction in its quality. This will contribute new knowledge in the field of plant physiology and especially stress physiology. Research in the field of knowledge of the effects of stressors to which plants are exposed in the natural environment or in controlled areas will enable the development of new technological solutions. By monitoring gene expression and the activity of enzymes involved in the synthesis and degradation of phenolic compounds, we will contribute to the knowledge of the regulation and persistence of these compounds in various parts of fruit plants during growth and postharvest. We will extend the knowledge to other metabolites and monitor the enzymatic activities or metabolic products of these reactions. This will improve our understanding of the role of myrosinase enzymes in the degradation of glucosinolates, the conversion of hydrojuglon-ß-D-glucopyranoside and ?-hydrojuglone to juglon, capsaicin synthase activity and the enzymatic activity of plant antioxidant responses. Plants synthesize and store secondary metabolites in various organs/tissues during the growing season. To determine metabolites in different tissues of horticultural plants, we will optimize extraction and analytical methods using HPLC-MS. The methods will be shorter, faster, and more efficient. Reduced amounts of solvents and reagents used in the analytical protocols will be more sustainable. These methods will represent the basis for research on target metabolites in numerous plant species. We will also use modern spectroscopic techniques (MS, NMR) to determine unknown compounds and identify them accordingly. We will upgrade our research by analyzing volatile compounds using the GC/MS system. This will allow us to identify important components, defining the aroma and taste of fruits, essential oils, and fatty acids. In this way, we will complement the studies on primary and secondary metabolites with volatile compounds - aromatics, a very important metabolic class in horticultural plants. Optimization of established methods of extraction and analysis will allow us to evaluate the composition and content of specific metabolites. Knowledge of the metabolic composition of various parts of horticultural plants will contribute to the enrichment of the field of metabolomics. Destructive methods for determining fruit maturity and quality, which require a lot of time, will be supplemented with non-destructive methods based on the absorption of chlorophyll and other metabolites present in the epidermal tissues of plant parts. Non-destructive methods allow us to monitor metabolites on the same samples throughout the growing season. The content of metabolites will be used as an indicator of the quality of fruits and other crops, which can then be harvested at optimal maturity. Due to the complex matrix of bioactive and signaling molecules that can be classified as biostimulants, checking the response at the level of tissue, organ or plant will help elucidate the mechanisms of action of each biostimulant as an accelerator/inhibitor of plant growth or as a means of relieving various forms of stress. We will also evaluate their potential insecticidal activity by testing natural compounds extracted from plants. We will continue selection work of walnuts and hazelnuts and select new cultivars suitable for sustainable production and in line with the green development directive.
Significance for the country
Slovenia is rich in natural resources, knowledge and tradition of food production of the highest quality. The large carbon footprint associated with food kilometers (long-distance transport of food) and environmentally controversial horticultural production technologies (fruit, vegetables, table grapes) is a pressing problem facing economies across the European Union. Polycentric development in food sustainability is a common EU strategy, which we follow in Slovenia. The project 'From farm to fork' is a new comprehensive approach that represents a great opportunity to improve our way of life, health and care for the environment. In the field of public service, we will participate in the annual training of professionals of the public advisory service of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food. We will perform various professional tasks in which we will directly incorporate the knowledge acquired in the research of the Horticulture program group. We will also disseminate knowledge in the professional bodies of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food and actively participate in the formulation of further policies and decisions important for agriculture and food. Information on the content and composition of metabolites in horticultural crops will be transferred to interested professional public in the field of health and nutrition. We will continuously incorporate new knowledge into the educational process at all three levels of agriculture and related study fields. In addition to direct pedagogical work, many members of the program group mentor theses and participate in numerous doctoral procedures in Europe and the Western Balkans. The results of our research will have a significant impact on the development of all areas of horticultural production in Slovenia and abroad. The results of research in the field of plant metabolism are the main source of information on the content of compounds important for nutrition and medicine. Knowledge on pigments degradation, especially anthocyanins, will enable the development of high-quality and durable products, juices, and beverages in the food industry. Various parts of horticultural plants with altered composition or increased content of metabolites and minerals are an excellent source material for functional food (new food supplements, enriched products). We will continue our work with companies in the development of technological solutions, such as the development of hydroponic systems for growing various horticultural plants at home, cultivation techniques in controlled systems and in the development of specific products for plant propagation ('ready-rooter' cuttings). New nut fruit cultivars, adapted to the pedoclimatic conditions in Slovenia, will significantly contribute to the extent and quality of nut fruit production and provide producers with constant yields and income, and the processing industry with domestic raw materials of excellent quality. We will promote Slovenia at various international meetings, where we will present our knowledge, as well as weave scientific research links and upgrade the research field with extensive foreign knowledge from around the world. International projects represent a great possibility for enhancing our knowledge and develop new ideas and solutions. We will cooperate within the European Union, Central Europe and with the countries of the Western Balkans. Researchers of the program group will actively participate in the cross-sectoral and interdisciplinary European network HiStabJuice, which combines the scientific work of five universities and two research institutions with the technological experience of 10 industrial partners from 7 EU countries. The results of the project will be technological improvements of various segments of the food industry in the field of juice production. The knowledge gained in the project will be freely available.
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