Making material virus-free

Plant material has long since proven its value for growers and producers. Many customers also know this and specifically ask for virus-free material when buying trees or plants. Because we use healthy propagating material and a controlled production process, we supply our fruit trees with a certificate that provides the customer with more certainty as to their quality. Viral diseases cannot be controlled using chemical or other methods. The only way to contain the problem is to use virus-free trees.

Propagation of plant material for the purpose of tests

About the test

The Test Centre works on behalf of breeders, variety owners and companies that have permission to propagate a fruit variety or rootstock. The customer brings material of a variety along to the Test Centre in winter or summer. An initial screening at the laboratory often reveals that a viral infection is present. Varieties are made virus-free by applying a technique involving heat and micrografting. We perform a series of tests to determine whether the process of making the material virus-free has been successful. The whole process is time-consuming and takes several years, giving the customer ample time to apply for Plant Breeders' Rights, for example. The identity of the new material also needs to be re-established, which is particularly important in the case of colour mutants of apple varieties. Once the virus-free material has been made, the Test Centre offers a maintenance service. This involves storing single pre-basic mother trees under carefully controlled conditions, thus maintaining their virus-free status over a long period of time. Pre-basic material is used for further propagation steps in the production process.

Maintain and make available (propagate) high quality pre-basic material to CFP

The Naktuinbouw Board decided in 2019 that the tasks 'Maintaining and making available (propagating) high quality pre-basic propagating material' no longer suits Naktuinbouw. Accreditations 17020 and 17025 are the basis for this decision. The industry would like to retain the services and expertise. At the request of and in cooperation with the sector, there is now an independent and autonomous foundation for the fruit sector: the Clean Fruit Plants Foundation (CFP).

The new foundation supports the international fruit crop sector in activities to produce high quality and healthy plant material for the international market. CFP foundation uses the facilities and the capacity and expertise of the Naktuinbouw staff of the Testing Center in Horst. This ensures the expertise for the sector and the continuity of this work. More information about the foundation's services can be found at

Infecting healthy plants with possible pathogen

Submission requirements

Trade in Dutch fruit trees and rootstocks goes almost to all the continents where they can grow. Each country has additional requirements for the health of plant material in addition to general requirements. Due to the worldwide fame of Dutch certified material, the requirement is set by many countries to be allowed to export.


In our Price list Laboratories 2024 you will find details of the fees for the various tests we can perform for you in a range of areas.


To submit a new variety, please contact the Test Centre in Horst directly. On this form you will be asked to provide information that will enable us to start working on your variety straight away. For each order we draw up an agreement stating that the virus-free variety always remains the property of the customer. You can be assured that we will carry out the order with the greatest of care and will keep your information confidential.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Which tests does Naktuinbouw perform?

You will find our current portfolio in the Price list Laboratories 2024. For vegetable crops, which tests we can perform is stated per crop. For plant material, a separate chapter lists which tests are available.

I cannot find my test in the price list. Can you still perform it?

The Price list Laboratories 2024 states our standard portfolio of tests. For export purposes, some countries require tests for which no validated protocol is available. In exceptional cases, based on our experience and knowledge of crops and pathogens, we can create a customised test. If the test proceeds as expected, the result can be used for export purposes.

To request a test, please contact the Front Office of the laboratory.

Can my crop be made virus-free?

It is possible to make certain crops virus-free (strawberry, small fruit and woody fruit crops). See the Price list Laboratoria 2024 for more details. For all other crops, please contact specialised tissue culture companies.