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About 2/3 of the rice consumed by European citizens is produced in EU, and its productivity is affected by abiotic and biotic stresses. Of particular concern, global temperature has increased over the last century, especially during the last 50 years (0.13 C / decade). One consequence has been a clear tendency toward salinization, which affects rice as one of the most salt sensitive crop in the region. Associated with changes in temperature and salinity, the biotic stress of the Apple snail species from genus Pomacea now threatens to destroy rice paddy fields eating the sown seed and the rice plantlets, representing one of the worst introduced gastropod crop pest of the recent time. It is calculated that nowadays this pest causes damages in rice fields worldwide that result into losses of tens of billions of Euros a year. Recently, apple snails have been detected in the Ebro river delta (Spain), and now it represents an important thread to Europes wetlands biodiversity and rice production. To date, the measures adopted to combat apple snail have failed, but in the autumn of 2013, 2500 ha of infested fields were flooded with sea water. This treatment proved 100% effective in destroying apple snail infestations, nevertheless residual salt concentrations affected negatively rice productivity. Thus, the general objective of the NEURICE project is to identify and introduce genetic variation in European rice varieties for obtaining commercial varieties tolerant to salinity in order to (i) mitigate the imminent effects of salinization and deterioration of water quality in the Mediterranean basins due to climate change, and (ii) to avoid the decline in production observed after seawater treatments performed in rice paddies that successfully controlled the apple snail pest. The availability of commercial salt tolerant rice lines will prevent the climate change derived abiotic stress while avoiding the dispersion of this devastating pest (biotic stress) all over Europe.


Grant
Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: WASTE-7-2015 | Award Amount: 7.82M | Year: 2016

NoAW : No Agro-Waste. Innovative approaches to turn agricultural waste into ecological and economic assets. Driven by a near zero-waste society requirement, the goal of NoAW project is to generate innovative efficient approaches to convert growing agricultural waste issues into eco-efficient bio-based products opportunities with direct benefits for both environment, economy and EU consumer. To achieve this goal, the NoAW concept relies on developing holistic life cycle thinking able to support environmentally responsible R&D innovations on agro-waste conversion at different TRLs, in the light of regional and seasonal specificities, not forgetting risks emerging from circular management of agro-wastes (e.g. contaminants accumulation). By involving all agriculture chain stakeholders in a territorial perspective, the project will: (1) develop innovative eco-design and hybrid assessment tools of circular agro-waste management strategies and address related gap of knowledge and data via extensive exchange through the Knowledge exchange Stakeholders Platform, (2) develop breakthrough knowledge on agro-waste molecular complexity and heterogeneity in order to upgrade the most widespread mature conversion technology (anaerobic digestion) and to synergistically eco-design robust cascading processes to fully convert agro-waste into a set of high added value bio-energy, bio-fertilizers and bio-chemicals and building blocks, able to substitute a significant range of non-renewable equivalents, with favourable air, water and soil impacts and (3) get insights of the complexity of potentially new, cross-sectors, business clusters in order to fast track NoAW strategies toward the field and develop new business concepts and stakeholders platform for cross-chain valorisation of agro-waste on a territorial and seasonal basis.


Grant
Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: SFS-13-2015 | Award Amount: 6.43M | Year: 2016

MycoKey aims to generate innovative and integrated solutions that will support stakeholders in effective and sustainable mycotoxin management along food and feed chains. The project will contribute to reduce mycotoxin contamination mainly in Europe and China, where frequent and severe mycotoxin contaminations occur in crops, and where international trade of commodities and contaminated batches are increasing. MycoKey will address the major affected crops maize, wheat and barley, their associated toxigenic fungi and related mycotoxins (aflatoxins, deoxynivalenol, zearalenone, ochratoxin A, fumonisins). The project will integrate key information and practical solutions for mycotoxin management into a smart ICT tool (MycoKey App), providing answers to stakeholders, who require rapid, customized forecasting, descriptive information on contamination risk/levels, decision support and practical economically-sound suggestions for intervention. Tools and methodologies will be strategically targeted for cost-effective application in the field and during storage, processing and transportation. Alternative and safe ways to use contaminated batches will be also delivered. The focus of Mycokey will be: i) innovating communications of mycotoxin management by applying ICT, providing input for legislation, enhancing knowledge and networks; ii) selecting and improving a range of tools for mycotoxin monitoring; iii) assessing the use of reliable solutions, sustainable compounds/green technologies in prevention, intervention and remediation. The multi-disciplinary consortium, composed by scientific, industrial and association partners (32), includes 11 Chinese institutions and will conduct the 4 years programme in a framework of international networks.


Grant
Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: SFS-01b-2014 | Award Amount: 10.52M | Year: 2015

SAPHIR aims to develop vaccine strategies effective against endemic pathogens responsible for high economic losses in livestock in order to strengthen the profitability of food animal systems, improve animal welfare and reduce xenobiotic usage in farming with a One Health perspective. SAPHIR will bring novel vaccine strategies to the market i) at short term, with several promising vaccines brought to demonstration (RTL6), ii) at long term, with cutting edge strategies brought at proof of concept (RTL3) and iii) in line with socio-economic requirements. SAPHIR has selected two representative pathogens of pigs (Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus and Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae), chickens (Eimeria and Clostridium perfringens) and cattle (Bovine Respiratory Syncytial Virus, Mycoplasma bovis) to develop generic vaccine approaches applicable to other pathogens. SAPHIR will issue i) knowledge of immune mechanisms of protection, ii) affordable, safe and multivalent vaccines with DIVA properties, iii) efficient adjuvants targeting dendritic cells, optimal formulations, new mucosal and skin delivery systems, a new generation of DNA vectors and viral replicon platforms for fostering an earlier and longer duration of immunity including the perinatal period, and iv) basal biomarkers of individual immuno-competence for future breeding strategies. The SAPHIR dissemination and training programme includes creation of an integrated health management website, launch of a Global Alliance for Veterinary Vaccines and organization of workshops directed at food animal system stakeholders. This will ensure optimal research translation of SAPHIR outputs to market and field applications. SAPHIR brings together interdisciplinary expertise from fourteen academic institutes including a Chinese partner, five SMEs and two pharmaceutical companies.


Grant
Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: SFS-13-2015 | Award Amount: 5.24M | Year: 2016

MyToolBox mobilises a multi-actor partnership (academia, farmers, technology SMEs, food industry and policy stakeholders) to develop novel interventions aimed at achieving a 20-90% reduction in crop losses due to fungal and mycotoxin contamination. MyToolBox will not only pursue a field-to-fork approach but will also consider safe use options of contaminated batches, such as the efficient production of biofuels. A major component of MyToolBox, which also distinguishes this proposal from previous efforts in the area mycotoxin reduction, is to provide the recommended measures to the end users along the food and feed chain in a web-based Toolbox. Cutting edge research will result in new interventions, which will be integrated together with existing measures in the Toolbox that will guide the end user as to the most effective measure(s) to be taken to reduce crop losses. We will focus on small grain cereals, maize, peanuts and dried figs, applicable to agricultural conditions in EU and China. Crop losses using existing practices will be compared with crop losses after novel pre-harvest interventions including investigation of genetic resistance to fungal infection, cultural control, the use of novel biopesticides (organic-farming compliant), competitive biocontrol treatment and development of forecasting models to predict mycotoxin contamination. Research into post-harvest measures including real-time monitoring during storage, innovative sorting of crops using vision-technology and novel milling technology will enable cereals with higher mycotoxin levels to be processed without breaching regulatory limits in finished products. Research into the effects of baking on mycotoxin levels will provide better understanding of process factors used in mycotoxin risk assessment. Involvement of leading institutions from China are aimed at establishing a sustainable cooperation in mycotoxin research between the EU and China.

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