About company


VŠÚO is the only research institute in the Czech Republic dealing with the topic of fruit research of most fruit species of the temperate climate zone.

The history of the Fruit Research and Breeding Institute began in 1951, when the individual horticultural branches were divided into separate institutes as part of the reorganization of the Fruit and Wine Institute in Prague and the Fruit Institute in Průhonice. The Research Institute of Fruit Growing was located in the historic building of chateau in Holovousy, a small village in Eastern Bohemia, which is located about halfway between the towns of Jičín and Hradec Králové. Fruit growing has been traditional in this area.
In the place of the chateau, there used to be a lordship, later rebuilt into a fortress, which belonged to the Holovous family from Holovousy. The castle had a number of owners. It was, for example, the Karlíks of Nežetice, the Smiřický family, the Leveneur family, Sosnovcovi from Vlkanov, Valdštýn family and others who rebuilt the original fortress into a chateau. The Malínský family reconstructed the chateau to its current state at the beginning of the 20th century. The Holovousy chateau was regained by the original owners as part of the restitution. The Fruit Research Institute was founded there on March 1, 1951 and from January 1, 1952, it became one of the institutes of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Czechoslovak Republic. In 1956, it was moved under the direct leadership of the Czechoslovak Academy of Agricultural Sciences and in 1977, it was aggregated as an independent economic organization to the VHJ Sempra Praha. The breeding stations in Těchobuzice, Velké Losiny and Velehrad were connected to it.

RESEARCH AND BREEDING FRUIT INSTITUTE HOLOVOUSY s.r.o.(hereinafter VŠÚO) was established on June 11, 1997 and it is a research organization under Act No. 130/2002 Coll., on the support of research and development. It is the only research institute in the Czech Republic focusing on fruit research of most fruit species of the temperate climate zone. During its almost seventy-year long history, it has focused mainly on applied research and development. Currently, the department deals with projects of the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic. Thanks to the project Ovocnářský výzkumný institute (OVI) (Fruit research institute) - Project reg. no. CZ.1.05/2.1.00/03.016, the organization has become one of the supported regional centers of applied research from the OP RDI - Priority Axis 2 - Regional R&D centers.       

Main activity

As part of the "National Program for the Conservation and Utilization of the Plant Gene Pool in the Czech Republic", the VŠÚO has for long-term maintained and annually evaluates more than 2,300 varieties of important fruit species in the temperate climate zone in field collections of genetic resources. It tests the duplicate storage using biotechnological methods in actively growing in vitro cultures and regeneration after cryopreservation in liquid nitrogen. Breeding activities have been going on for almost seventy years, currently focusing on cherries, apples, plums and apricots. Together with breeding, promising varieties from abroad are introduced and tested to ensure breeding programs with suitable genotypes with valuable traits.

Research activities leading to an increase in the competitiveness of the Czech fruit sector in the European area are focused on the following priorities:
  • Diagnostics of the main pathogens of fruit crops.
  • Healing of promising varieties of kernels and stone fruits with modern biotechnological methods with subsequent transfer of virus-free primary resources to the user sphere.
  • Innovation of kernel and stone fruits growing technologies with new knowledge from integrated production, organic systems and fruit storage, especially in the field of varietal and rootstock composition or protection against harmful factors.
  • Reducing the input of contaminants into the orchard ecosystem and the environment.
  • Specializing of agrotechnical interventions in newly established market plantings of kernels and stone fruits with a focus on soil care and its effective use, research of modern methods of fertilization and nutrition as well as shaping and regulation of fruit stalks.
  • Clarification of the method for determining the optimal harvest maturity for kernels and stone fruits and finding the optimal storage conditions to extend the use of domestic production on the market.
  • Formulation of propagation and cultivation technologies, including ecological systems for small fruits and neglected fruit species in an effort to promote their integration into the agricultural sector.
  • Selection of breeding-promising varieties and genotypes of kernels and stone fruits based on the use of new effective laboratory methods in order to intensify the use of gene markers that have a direct link to important economic traits.
  • Implementation of contract research in fruit growing to address specific topics in the areas of testing of plant protection products and auxiliary products, innovation of processing technologies, testing of new materials for use in plantings.
  • Transfer of knowledge gained from R&D to the professional public through organizing of professional seminars and workshops to school students through involvement in OP Education for Competitiveness projects.
  • Department of Genetics and Breeding
VŠÚO Holovousy is organizationally divided into five research departments:
  • Gene Pools Department
  • Department of Fruit Crop Protection
  • Technology Department
  • Department of Genetics and Fruit Crop Breeding
  • Laboratory complement department more

International cooperations
At the international level, VŠÚO Holovousy is actively involved in leading European and world organizations:
  • ISHS(International Society for Horticultural Science), which brings together 7,000 members from 140 countries
  • EUFRIN(European Fruit Research Institutes Network), which involves 30 European members from universities and research institutes
  • EUCARPIA(European Association for Research on Plant Breeding), which associates breeding workplaces more
XV EUCARPIA Fruit Breeding and Genetics Symposium
In 2019, the XI. EUCARPIA Fruit Breeding and Genetics Symposium international conference was held in Prague with the participation of 150 breeders and geneticists from 29 countries around the world. At a working meeting within this conference, Ing. Jiří Sedlák, Ph.D. from the Research and Breeding Institute of Fruit Growing Holovousy s.r.o., was elected to be a new chairman of the EUCARPIA company more
The Cherry Days are organized in cooperation with the Julius Kühn-Institut (JKI), the Federal Research Center for Cultivated Plants, the Institute for Breeding Research on Fruit Crops from Germany, and these two countries regularly take turn in organizing of this event. In 2020, the event is going to happen in Germany and VŠÚO is a co-organizer. This event always takes place at the end of June. more
Strategic partnerships
VŠÚO has three strategic partnerships, which help it spread varieties of fruit species. These varieties, bred in Holovousy, are distributed all over the world, but mainly to the EU, USA and Australia.
  • Artevos GmbH(Germany) - Commercialization of fruit varieties mainly on the EU market. Testing the suitability of kernel and stone varieties for EU countries in eleven test stations. At present, there are more than 30 new breeds of apples, cherries, apricots and plums from the VŠÚO breeding program in the tests.
  • Varieties International LLC(USA) - Commercialization of varieties worldwide with a predominance on the US market and in Chile, Canada, South Africa, China, South Korea and India. At present, more than 30 new kinds of cherries are being newly bred and tested from the VŠÚO breeding program.
  • ANFIC(Australia) - The company brings together half of cherry growers in Australia and it is involved in testing and commercializing varieties in Australia. It participates in the testing of varieties and currently they are testing a total of 12 of them from the VŠÚO breeding program.

Popularization of science and research
We consider the popularization of science and research (i.e. our work) to be an important part of VŠÚO's activities. For example, we organize various seminars, field days and conferences for the professional public, such as traditional FRUIT DAYS, a Seminar for growers or field days. For the general public, we provide winter and spring tasting of apples, Open day, excursions and exhibitions. We co-organize the Holovouský raspberry festival. This festival has become a very popular and attended event. Every year, we participate in the Night of Scientists event at the National Agricultural Museum in Prague. At this event, we present our work and our results in the form of an exhibition, fruit and products tastings. more
Cooperation with schools
We are in contact and cooperate with colleges and universities: Mendel University in Brno, Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague, University Hospital in Hradec Králové, Research Laboratory III. Internal Gerontometabolic Clinics, Palacký University in Olomouc, University of Hradec Králové. In cooperation with these research institutes, we deal with research projects and provide internships to students. Within the region, we also cooperate with secondary schools: Agricultural Academy and Gymnázium Hořice - secondary school and higher vocational school, contributory organization, Secondary School of Services, Trade and Gastronomy in Hradec Králové, Secondary School of Horticulture Kopidlno, Secondary Vocational School of Veterinary Medicine in Hradec Králové. Pupils from these schools come to us to do their internships, excursions and part-time jobs. In this way, they get acquainted with the issues of fruit growing, the operation of a production company and scientific institution. more
National exhibitions
VŠÚO participates in national exhibitions Země živitelka, Zahrada Čech, Hortikomplex. These exhibitions are the largest and most important for fruit growers and farmers in the Czech Republic. 

Regional events
In the region, we participate in the Agriculture Day in Hradec Králové, the Agricultural Day in Sovětice, the Hradec Králové Regional Harvest Festival and a number of gardening exhibitions.

Basic information about VŠÚO

RESEARCH AND BREEDING FRUIT INSTITUTE HOLOVOUSY s.r.o. has been engaged in research of fruit growing and the breeding of fruit crops continuously for almost seven decades. The research activity of the institute includes practically all fruit crops that are grown on the territory of the Czech Republic as market cultures. As part of the solution of research projects supported by various providers (MZe/ NAZV, MŠMT, GAČR, MK, TAČR), it creates almost all types of outputs defined by the Research Organizations' Results Evaluation Methodologies and submitted to the Register of Results Information. These are both results of a publishing nature and applied results. Researchers and scientists publish research results in impacted, peer-reviewed, as well as in other professional and popular journals. The organization has been publishing Scientific Work on Fruit Growing for 60 years. The journal publishes original scientific works from the fruit growing industry. It is a peer-reviewed journal included in the List of peer-reviewed non-impact journals (periodicals) published in the Czech Republic. It is cited in CA B Abstracts/Horticultural Science Abstracts, Plant Breeding Abstracts, AGRIS. The successfully commercialized results include legally protected varieties, so far almost 85 varieties of individual fruit species have been entered and registered, other varieties are still undergoing the registration process. A number of varieties were granted a protection of rights in the Czech Republic and subsequently in the European Union. In particular, there is a great interest in cherry varieties in the world, two varieties have been granted a US Plant Patent. Furthermore, several results in the field of pilot plant and verified technologies were realized and contractually handed over to the user in VŠÚO Holovousy in the last five-year period. An important component of the transfer of research results into practice are growing methodologies, which are passed on to users - professionals - professional fruit growers

Company executives  
Ing. Tomáš Zmeškal
Ing. Jaroslav Vácha

Ing. Jan Blažek, CS c.
Ing. Josef Kosina, CS c.
Ing. Václav Ludvík
Ing. František Paprštein, CS c.
Jaroslav Muška
Ing. Radoslav Potůček

Company Supervisory Board
Ing. Josef Kosina
Mgr. Vladimír Samek
Mgr. Hana Vránová