The Cherries of East Malling


We’re often visiting customers in far-flung places, so it’s great to have the opportunity to highlight a research a little closer to home for a change, East Malling Research (EMR).  A pre-eminent research institute located in Kent, United Kingdom, it was founded in 1913 by the local fruit growing industry in Kent with the mission to “the study of problems met with in the actual culture of fruit trees and bushes”.  Over 100 years later, they continue to have an emphasis on perennial and clonally propagated crops, and since those early years their painstaking research have introduced many wide-ranging advances to horticulture including numerous novel commercial varieties of fruit such as Prunus avium ‘Penny’ cherries and Ribes uva-crispa ‘Invicta’ gooseberries.

One of many crops in which EMR has an active breeding programme is cherries, for which they use PBS International 2D.5 and 2D.3 bags. Since much of the breeding material is mature, larger bags are able to cover an entire branch, with smaller bags being used for smaller branches or younger plants. The bags are put over the flowers after manual pollination, and left in situ until the fruit has matured several months later, made possible by the robust yet breathable nature of the duraweb® material.

Michelle Hulin a PhD student at EMR is studying the mechanisms of pathogen adaptation in Pseudomonas syringae, a bacterium of particular interest to for Cherry breeders, because it causes disease commonly known as bacterial canker.  Bacterial canker causes small holes in the leaves and sunken, dead patches of bark, which reduce the lifespan of the plant. While all cherries are susceptible to bacterial canker some are more resistant than others. Michelle’s research aims to to identify what gives some varieties of cherry partial resistance.

Michelle’s research continues EMR’s long tradition of pursing cutting edge research in topics that have real practical benefits, and we’re delighted to be, in a small way, contributing to the important work.

If you want further information on how PBS International pollination bags could be used in your research programme don’t hesitate to get in touch at

east malling cherry tree

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