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Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-TP | Phase: KBBE.2011.1.2-05 | Award Amount: 3.89M | Year: 2012

ROOTOPOWER aims to develop a multidisciplinary suite of new tools targeted to the root system to enhance agronomic stability and sustainability of dicotyledonous crops under multiple and combined abiotic stresses: salinity, water stress, soil compaction and low fertilizer (N, P, K) input. Central to our approach is the use of tomato as a model species since it can be very easily grafted (usual commercial practise). This surgical technique allows precise assessment of the effect of altering root traits on crop performance independently of any shoot traits, since the scion (shoot) is constant. This project will analyze and exploit the natural genetic variability existing in a recombinant inbred line population (RIL) from a cross between Solanum lycopersicum and S. pimpinellifolium and other selected mutants and functional lines (used as rootstocks) for their performance under multiple abiotic stresses and for their biotic interaction with natural soil microorganisms (mycorrhiza and rhizobacteria). The key research challenges are: (i) to identify stress-resistant root systems and rhizosphere microorganisms (and their synergisms) for enhanced resistance to individual and combined abiotic stresses; and (ii) to understanding the underlying genetic and physiological mechanisms, which are potentially fundamental to all crops, and readily exploited in dicotyledonous crops. This project will first identify genetic variation and quantitative trait loci (QTL) that allow tomato roots to confer crop resistance to a range of abiotic stresses, alone or in association with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) and/or plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR). This approach will establish the physiological and signalling processes conferred by key QTLs, and identify candidates for the causative genes by obtaining near isogenic lines (NILs) for selected QTLs. The validity of the knowledge generated will be confirmed in tomato and other species within the timeframe of the project.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2014-ETN | Award Amount: 3.29M | Year: 2015

BACKGROUND Secure and sustainable food production in terms of quantity and quality is a major challenge facing human societies. However, food security is continuously threatened by current and invasive pest species. EU regulations for the use of pesticides are getting stricter to ensure food safety and protect ecosystem health. Biocontrol of agricultural pests by using natural enemies has great potential to deal with these two demands. CHALLENGE Controlling novel exotic pests often involves importing non-native natural enemies. Such practices are undesirable as it poses risks to local biodiversity. Optimizing existing and native biocontrol agents can reduce the dependence on imported natural enemies. OBJECTIVE BINGO will advance current knowledge in biocontrol practice through the use of natural genetic variation and by simultaneously training 13 young researchers in an extensive suite of interdisciplinary skills. This will allow them to improve the efficiency of biological pest control through selective breeding of natural enemies in a broad range of agricultural systems and environmental conditions. HOW The research projects will address current bottlenecks in biocontrol, for rearing, monitoring and performance, that include a broad range of scientific disciplines and in which state-of-the-art population genomics will be applied. Industry has a pivotal role by providing the problems for research, training, and by translating the results to capacity building and increased competitiveness. RELEVANCE BINGO will deliver improved biocontrol agents, knowledge on the genetic organisation of traits related to agents performance, genetic markers for monitoring and risk assessment, and guidelines and protocols for genetic improvement of natural enemies. Crucially, BINGO will deliver eager ESRs that have the potential to thrive in professional environments in science, industry and public bodies to ensure that the biocontrol potential is met and implemented.

Fundo De Defesa Da Citricultura Fundecitrus and Instituto Valenciano Of Investigaciones Agrarias | Date: 2015-06-08

The invention provides a method for controlling Huanglongbing (HLB) disease of citrus plants through expressing genes encoding synthases for sesquiterpenes such as -caryophyllene, and -copaene, and combinations thereof, in citrus plants. Methods of controlling HLB comprising applying at least one purified sesquiterpene, which repels

Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: CSA | Phase: WATER-4b-2015 | Award Amount: 3.00M | Year: 2016

In European countries, the cultivation of fertigated crops experience scarcity of water, and the intensity of cultivation poses significant risks to water quality. The main objective of the FERTINNOWA thematic network is to create a meta-knowledge database on innovative technologies and practices for fertigation of horticultural crops. FERTINNOWA will also build a knowledge exchange platform to evaluate existing and novel technologies (innovation potential, synergies, gaps, barriers) for fertigated crops and ensure wide dissemination to all stakeholders involved of the most promising technologies and best practices. A multi-actor integrated approach will be used through the FERTINNOWA platform which will involve various stakeholders (researchers, growers, policy-makers, industry, environmental groups etc.) at several levels including the socio-economic and regulatory level (national and European) with a special focus on the EU Water Framework Directive and Nitrate Directive. Information will be gathered at national level to feed a European benchmark study that will evaluate and compare existing technologies used at various horticulture sectors, including vegetables, fruit and ornamentals in different climate zones. All tools, databases and other resources generated will be shared within the consortium and the stakeholders group and will be made available to the broader scientific community, policy-makers, the industry and the public at large. FERTINNOWA will help the growers to implement innovative technologies in order to optimize water and nutrient use efficiency thus reducing the environmental impact.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: MC-IRSES | Phase: FP7-PEOPLE-2013-IRSES | Award Amount: 394.80K | Year: 2014

The project aims at characterizing and comparing food webs associated with aphids developing on 6 distinct ecosystems in native vs. invaded areas (continents). By considering food webs associated with pest insects and comparing food web structure & functioning on an international scale, we will broaden our understanding of processes underpinning food web functioning and herbivore population regulation. We will also document structural and functional changes owing to migration or invasion processes. Comparison of food webs in native and invaded regions will also focus on factors structuring trophic networks associated with aphid pests in various ecosystems worldwide. The key actions will be to: (1) Develop molecular identification techniques to detect trophic links in field collected samples. Ease of implementation should be aimed at (2) Create food webs: quantify trophic links between aphids, their natural enemies and other key species. Standardized sampling protocols will be used in the various ecosystems at various locations worldwide (3) Use existing food web analysis methods and develop new ones to quantify changes in food webs on an international scale (4) Investigate determinants and mechanisms affecting the outcome of invasion (or introduction for classical biological control) of aphid-associated alien species The scope of potential results of the project is wide. Aphids being a worldwide pest, food web studies can provide crucial data for biological control applications, from classical to conservation approaches. The international scale of the study will enable investigating biogeographic hypotheses, which are a valuable contribution to ecological theory but are also applicable to biosecurity, e.g. safety of classical biological control programs for endemic biodiversity. Possible additional local scale comparisons and studies would provide information documenting theories on apparent competition, host range, specialization and their effects on trophic levels

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