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Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-CA | Phase: KBBE-2007-1-2-07 | Award Amount: 1.24M | Year: 2008

Agricultural research in the Mediterranean is characterised by three main features: it is scattered within the EU members and in Mediterranean Partner Countries as well as most of the problems and challenges that the Mediterranean agriculture is facing are shared by all the countries in the area and even further, its objectives are largely the same in the whole area, even if priorities can vary from one country to another; the conditions resulting from climate change as well as the objective of sustainable development and production need to rethink agricultural research in all the countries and to begin its alignment in the whole area to increase its impact. This situation allows and requires a coordination action at the level of the Mediterranean (among EU members and between them and the other Mediterranean countries) to fight again fragmentation in fostering the convergence of national programmes and in founding a new critical mass to address the key issues (such as the growing demand for safer, healthier and higher quality food; the sustainable production and use of renewable bio-resources; threats to the sustainability and security of agricultural and fisheries production resulting in particular from climate change), to increase excellence and relevance of research, to enhance and strengthen the cooperation within the region in sharing the objectives and the priorities. These are the aims of the proposal of an ERA-Net as a European Initiative for Coordination of Agricultural Research in the Mediterranean (ARIMNet) which bears clearly a double ambition: to enhance coordination of agricultural research programmes within the Mediterranean area and to improve the cooperation within the area. It is gathering twelve countries (6 EU members, 2 associated country and 4 other Mediterranean countries) and the programmes that could be under the coordination action are gathering more than 3000 researchers and 300 million euros per year.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: BSG-SME-AG | Phase: SME-2 | Award Amount: 2.06M | Year: 2010

The aim of the project is to isolate the most appropriate probiotic bacteria from the autochthonous olive microflora, in order to be used as pure starter cultures for the improvement of the traditional fermentation and for the production of a new functional food. Isolated lactic acid bacteria with probiotic properties will be selected for potential tolerance of the naturally antimicrobial compounds, such as polyphenols occurring in olives. Furthermore, selection of cultures will focus on the production of antimicrobial compounds like bacteriocins which reduce growth of spoilage and pathogenic bacteria. Additional, organoleptic and biochemical properties like production of desired aroma compounds will be studied. At the same time a better control of the fermentation process, early detection of faulty fermentation and spoilage and assessment of the time needed for fermentation completion will be achieved by monitoring the quality indices (e.g. volatiles) throughout the process with the use of advanced and emerging instruments (electronic nose) and tools (mathematical models). Risk assessment studies will be carried out to ensure the safety of the new product as well as storage experiments will indicate its shelf life stability. Mathematical models will be developed for the prediction of its shelf life as well as consumer acceptance studies will ensure the quality and acceptance of the final product.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: KBBE-2007-1-2-14 | Award Amount: 3.90M | Year: 2008

Although exploited fishes have traditionally been managed on a geographic basis, for conservation purposes they should be managed at the population level: the extent and dynamics of population structuring underlies resilience and sustainability. More effective enforcement and conservation demands a focus on identification and monitoring of wild fish populations and traceability of products. FishPopTrace brings together expertise in fish traceability projects (Fish and Chips, FishTrace, FISH-BOL) to: 1.Integrate data from European fish species traceability projects, and to generate a single compatible database and tissue archive managed by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission. 2. Examine single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and otolith microchemistry and morphometrics in widely distributed populations of cod, hake, herring and sole. Outputs will comprise population-level signatures associated with fish origins in early life and representative spawning groups. 3. Undertake validation of traceability tools in relation to end-user technology. 4. Develop a population monitoring system based on genetic and otolith data that will assess population stability in a temporal and spatial framework. 5. Test the utility of additional novel traceability systems (fatty acid profiles, proteomics, gene expression, microarray platform for SNP genotyping). 6. Facilitate technology transfer in relation to enforcement and conservation policies of the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and associated socio-economic consequences. Outputs from FishPopTrace will improve the traceability of fish and fish products and protection of consumer interests through enhanced understanding of the dynamics, temporal stability and distribution of major populations of four key exploited fish species. Central elements of the output will be the development and evaluation of end-user tools, a Cost Benefit Analysis and a final report setting FishPopTrace in the context of the CFP.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: BSG-SME | Phase: SME-2011-1 | Award Amount: 1.06M | Year: 2011

Rice is the main crop in wet areas such as river deltas and is an essential tool in Europe in managing protected ecosystems. Irrigation water is a key factor in the production of rice and water quality has a major impact on crop yield as a result of tolerance of rice to factors such as dissolved salts. Rice is more water consuming than many other crops: in continuous flooding cultivation it takes about 6 times the water required by wheat. Due to increased water use in coastal areas, the sea intrudes the water table and seawater floods nearby fields during storms in the Mediterranean area. The result is increased water salinity, which reduces yield in rice crops and increases soil salinity. Nowadays, water condition is for the most part assessed by visual inspection of the crops and, when excess water salinity is suspected, fields are irrigated by flooding them. In areas where water salinity is endemic, rice paddies are continuously irrigated with river water to reduce water salinity. This is a remedial solution that requires enormous volumes of water and considerable energy to pump water. Water salinity can be accurately determined by measuring its electrical conductivity (EC). Measuring EC at the water inlet and outlet of each paddy field can help in monitoring the washing effect of irrigation. Moreover, measuring EC at points far from water inlets and outlets can help in assessing water salinity in a given paddy field and at different depths in drainage channels can help in managing water salinity in larger areas. This project will develop a wireless sensor network comprised of low-cost EC measurement nodes and an autonomous power supply based on energy harvesting, that will be capable of transmitting readings in real-time to a central server. This data will enable cultivators to effectively manage and protect of their paddy fields and greatly reduce flood water consumption.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: ENV.2010.2.1.4-1 | Award Amount: 9.23M | Year: 2010

FunDivEUROPE (FUNctional significance of forest bioDIVersity in EUROPE) proposes to quantify the effects of forest biodiversity on ecosystem function and services in major European forest types in the main bioclimatic regions of Europe. FunDivEUROPE will be based on four scientific platforms and seven cross-cutting Work Packages. The project will combine a global network of tree diversity experiments (Experimental Platform) with a newly designed network of observational plots in six focal regions within Europe (Exploratory Platform). Additionally, the project will integrate an in-depth analysis of inventory-based datasets of existing forest monitoring networks to extend the scope to larger spatial and temporal scales (Inventory Platform). FunDivEUROPE will thus combine the strengths of various scientific approaches to explore and quantify the significance of forest biodiversity for a very large range of ecosystem processes and ecosystem services. Using modeling and state-of-the-art techniques for quantitative synthesis, the project will integrate information gained from the different platforms to assess the performance of pure and mixed species stands under changing climate. In addition to the three research platforms, FunDivEUROPE will set up a Knowledge Transfer Platform in order to foster communication, aggregation and synthesis of individual findings in the Work Packages and communication with stakeholders, policy makers and the wider public. The information gained should thus enable forest owners, forest managers and forest policy makers to adapt policies and management for sustainable use of forest ecosystems in a changing environment, capitalizing on the potential effects of biodiversity for ecosystem functioning. The experiences gained within FunDivEUROPE will finally allow contributing to the development of the European Long-Term Ecosystem Research Network, complementing existing forest observation and monitoring networks.

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