Projects / Programmes source: ARIS


Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
4.03.00  Biotechnical sciences  Plant production   

Code Science Field
B006  Biomedical sciences  Agronomics 

Code Science Field
4.01  Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences  Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries 
biotic and abiotic stress, phenolic compounds, terpenoids, nitrogen containing compounds, auxins, production technologies, fruit growing, viticulture, vegetable growing, ornamentals, phytomedicine, mechanization
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (39)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  04124  PhD Rajko Bernik  Plant production  Researcher  2015 - 2021  522 
2.  17773  Aleksander Bobnar    Technical associate  2015 - 2016  23 
3.  35363  PhD Vlasta Cunja  Plant production  Junior researcher  2015 - 2016  18 
4.  35366  PhD Anka Čebulj  Plant production  Junior researcher  2015 - 2018  75 
5.  51865  Saša Gačnik  Plant production  Junior researcher  2018 - 2021  18 
6.  36972  Anton Gleščič    Technical associate  2018 - 2021 
7.  55384  PhD Mariana Cecilia Grohar  Plant production  Researcher  2021  23 
8.  34668  Tadej Heric    Technical associate  2015 
9.  14033  PhD Metka Hudina  Plant production  Researcher  2015 - 2021  634 
10.  54732  Tea Ivančič  Plant production  Junior researcher  2020 - 2021  12 
11.  25505  PhD Jerneja Jakopič  Plant production  Researcher  2015 - 2021  190 
12.  24183  Matej Jeraša    Technical associate  2015 - 2021 
13.  13010  PhD Nina Kacjan Maršić  Plant production  Researcher  2015 - 2021  373 
14.  28497  PhD Žiga Laznik  Plant production  Researcher  2015 - 2021  277 
15.  53623  PhD Aljaž Medič  Biology  Junior researcher  2019 - 2021  40 
16.  23631  PhD Maja Mikulič Petkovšek  Plant production  Researcher  2015 - 2021  373 
17.  14541  PhD Gregor Osterc  Plant production  Researcher  2015 - 2021  334 
18.  38119  PhD Martina Peršić  Plant production  Junior researcher  2015 - 2018  19 
19.  38513  Tilen Petrič    Technical associate  2016 - 2021 
20.  20496  Tomaž Pliberšek    Technical associate  2015 - 2021 
21.  36437  PhD Jan Reščič  Plant production  Junior researcher  2015 - 2017  42 
22.  25866  Jaka Rupnik    Technical associate  2015 - 2021 
23.  20686  PhD Denis Rusjan  Plant production  Researcher  2015 - 2021  448 
24.  29419  PhD Valentina Schmitzer  Plant production  Researcher  2015 - 2021  147 
25.  30707  PhD Ana Slatnar  Plant production  Researcher  2015 - 2021  308 
26.  51858  Tina Smrke  Plant production  Junior researcher  2018 - 2021  21 
27.  07552  PhD Anita Solar  Plant production  Researcher  2015 - 2021  514 
28.  30340  Greta Sorta    Technical associate  2015 - 2017 
29.  37423  PhD Mateja Šenica  Plant production  Junior researcher  2015 - 2020  27 
30.  06404  PhD Franci Štampar  Plant production  Researcher  2015 - 2021  1,181 
31.  17763  PhD Stanislav Trdan  Biotechnical sciences  Researcher  2015 - 2021  1,073 
32.  11759  PhD Valentina Usenik  Plant production  Researcher  2015 - 2021  409 
33.  20165  PhD Robert Veberič  Plant production  Head  2015 - 2021  552 
34.  50597  PhD Matej Vošnjak  Plant production  Junior researcher  2017 - 2021  33 
35.  34339  PhD Nika Weber  Plant production  Junior researcher  2015 - 2016  204 
36.  53625  PhD Tilen Zamljen  Plant production  Junior researcher  2019 - 2021  37 
37.  37424  PhD Zala Zorenč  Plant production  Junior researcher  2015 - 2018  36 
38.  53196  Vid Žitko  Plant production  Technical associate  2021  18 
39.  17762  PhD Dragan Žnidarčič  Interdisciplinary research  Researcher  2015 - 2018  499 
Organisations (1)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0481  University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty  Ljubljana  1626914  65,828 
Horticulture program group will upgrade and deepen its research in horticultural plants and investigate the effect of environment and production technologies on physiological changes, particularly changes in levels of primary and secondary metabolites. It will focus on various forms of stress, increasingly present in a changing environment. A certain level of stress can positively influence the synthesis of compounds. This can be exploited to alter the physiological processes leading to higher levels of protective metabolites. The plant response will be monitored at different levels - gene expression, enzyme activity, monitoring of primary/secondary metabolites, and consequently evaluation of the physiological response of tissue, organ or whole plant. Research of secondary metabolites will be expanded from currently studied groups of phenolic compounds to other important groups of metabolites. We will analyze glucosinolates in plants of the Brassicaceae family, betalaines in plants of the Caryophyllales order and other nitrogen containing compounds with allelopathic and deterrent effects. Moreover, we will investigate a large group of terpenoids (specifically, carotenoids), which (in addition to the role of plant pigments) perform typical protective functions in plants and are extremely important in the horticultural point of view. Among plant metabolites, we will also monitor different growth hormones and study their functions as well as new possibilities for their application in horticulture. In addition to the impact of the environment on the content of metabolites in horticultural crops, we will monitor the interaction of these compounds between plants (allelopathy), plant-pathogenic organisms (defense mechanisms) and plant-beneficial organisms (attractants). The study of interactions between plants and beneficial/harmful organisms represents a good basis for further development of biotic plant protection. Publication and impact of past results in international scientific and professional journals, the existing laboratory equipment and good collaboration with other research groups in Slovenia and abroad permits the upgrade of our research. In previous financing period we have been successful determining different phenolic compounds with the use of liquid chromatography combined with mass spectrometry. Acquired knowledge and experience enables to extend the survey to other groups of metabolites. Research will be carried out in different areas of horticulture: fruit, vegetables, ornamental plants, grapevine, mechanization, phytopathology and entomology. For all these aspects, we have suitably qualified researchers who have demonstrated excellence in their field. The results of our research will be presented to the wider scientific and professional community. The integrated approach examines the response of plants in a specific environment, and integrates the findings into existing and new technological processes.
Significance for science
Horticulture program will contribute to new knowledge on metabolic pathways and regulatory elements of the secondary metabolism of horticultural plants, depending on primary metabolism, environmental impacts and interactions between plants and other organisms, and various technological processes.   Biosynthesis of secondary metabolites remains one of the major unknowns in the production of horticultural crops. The methodology provides an innovative strategy to achieve a breakthrough in this area as it includes the following original approaches: - The study of unknown mechanisms in gene expression and synthesis of phenols with analysis of various tissues of horticultural plants and impact of biotic/abiotic stress. - Identification of secondary metabolites from different classes (phenolic compounds, terpenoids, N-containing compounds) and their importance for interactions between plants, pathogens and beneficial organisms. - The influence of environmental factors and technological processes on the accumulation of beneficial compounds in horticultural products and the identification of metabolic markers of the processes. - Study of the impact of the synthesis of secondary metabolites and their composition on the physiological response of plants.   Research synthesis and accumulation of secondary metabolites in horticultural plants significantly contribute to the development of the disciplines and their related fields:   The results of studies on biosynthesis of different groups of bioactive compounds will contribute to the scientific research of secondary metabolites. Analysis and extraction methods will be optimized for specific plant species and different tissues.   In the field of plant research we will intensify the knowledge on secondary metabolites, which perform a number of physiological functions, such as protection against many of stress factors.   New findings provide the possibility of studying the synthesis of secondary metabolites in different species/cultivars in response to environmental and technological conditions and boost horticultural production. Knowledge of the accumulation of secondary metabolites enables cultivation of horticultural plants with optimum composition of bioactive compounds.   Horticulture program will contribute to the knowledge of genes and enzymes involved in biosynthesis of secondary metabolites, their composition and individual/synergistic activity. This will encourage the use of biotic approaches in relation to protection of plants against pathogens. It will explain the competitive relationships between synthesis of primary and secondary metabolites, which can interfere with the growth and development of horticultural plants. Interactions between different groups of compounds in plant’s metabolome greatly contribute to the development of technological processes for plant cultivation, which can increase the synthesis of beneficial compounds and alter their profile, affecting the quality of horticultural products.
Significance for the country
In Slovenia, indicators have only recently started to show improvements after severe economic crisis. Agriculture is still a deficient industry in some areas. However, we have plentiful natural resources, knowledge and tradition to produce top quality food. Nevertheless, the problem of so-called carbon footprint or transport of food over long distances is particularly pronounced for some horticultural crops (eg. fruits, vegetables, table grapes) similarly as throughout the European Union. In 2011 Slovenian Parliament adopted a resolution regarding the strategic direction of the development of Slovenian agriculture and food industry until 2020 - "Ensure the food for tomorrow." Horticultural products occupy a special place in this resolution as we are only self-sufficient in apple and grapevine production. Only 30% of the required quantities for vegetable consumption are produced in Slovenia, so these strategic guidelines provide possibilities for horticultural crop expansion. As intensive horticultural production in large areas has never been characteristic for Slovenia, because the structure of farms is relatively small and the environment still unpolluted top quality food can be produced with improved integrated and organic modern technologies. The implemented know-how of our research in the past program period indicates that the knowledge was successfully administered to the technological processes. New knowledge that will be gained mainly through studies of the impact of pathogens, beneficial organisms and other plants on secondary metabolism will directly affect new or improved technological processes and increase production of horticultural crops. Indirectly, this will affect the number of jobs in rural areas, better income in rural areas and more densily populated rural landscape. All will contribute to a better social and cultural development of the Slovenian countryside. The specific activity of secondary metabolites plays significant impact on the economics of horticultural production. Their antimicrobial activity enhances plant resistance to pathogens and, consequently, reduces economic losses by reducing crop failures and reducing the use of large amounts of expensive plant protection products. However, modern and widespread cultivars possess relatively low ability to produce secondary metabolites and thereby their natural defense mechanism is weakened. In particular, organic farming strives to cultivate resistant cultivars, forming large amounts of bioactive compounds. The acquired knowledge will be incorporated into new technologies that reduce environmental pollution, enable the production of safe food, are characterized by low power consumption and sustainably oriented. Secondary metabolites in plants also affect the food and drink industry. They are important quality factors and can positively (the sensory characteristics of the wine) or negatively (astringency of fruit juice) affect the economic importance of horticultural plants and their products. Careful cultivar selection and optimization of processing procedures lead to high-quality products that can be sold at higher prices. These new skills will impact development in existing companies engaged in the production of horticultural crops as they will choose energy efficient technologies producing high quality products with increased content of secondary metabolites. Green technologies that are on the move will not change only the events in companies, but will affect horticulture as a whole. Indirectly, all of these events change the lifestyle and affect research in other areas such as health, well-being, etc.   Already, we have included developments in the European area in our studies, but in the future we intend to upgrade the cooperation. We believe that our research will enable the emergence of some new technologies and new job opportunities contributing to the self-employment in rural areas and thus decisive contribution to the preservation of rural and
Most important scientific results Annual report 2015, interim report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2015, interim report
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