ZeroParasitic : Innovative sustainable solutions for broomrapes: prevention and integrated pest management approaches to overcome parasitism in Mediterranean cropping systems

Project identifier 182-ZEROPARASITIC
Project Status ongoing
Start date 2019-07-01
End date 2022-06-30
Roadmap Theme
  • Sustainable intensification: Soil, water, land and input management
  • Type of Project Applied research project
    Programme PRIMA
    Keyword orobanche; vicia faba; tomato plants; parasitic plants
    Location Greece; Spain; Malta; Morocco; Tunisia; Egypt; Jordan
    Budget 1 322 500
    Main Funder Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (DG RTD) (H2020)
    Coordinator Benaki Phytopathological Institute (BPI)
  • Agricultural University of Athens
  • Agroland SA
  • University of Tübingen
  • Alexandria University
  • Centro de Edafologia Biologia Applicadadel Segura (CEBAS-CSIC)
  • National Agricultural Research Center (NARC)
  • Epsilon SA
  • Hassan II Institute of Agronomy and Veterinary Sciences (IAV)
  • Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique de Tunisie (INRAT)
  • Documents PRIMA funded projects 2018


    Objectives and expected impacts

    ZeroParasitic is a three-year project, aiming to deliver innovative sustainable solutions to overcome broomrape plant parasitism in key Mediterranean cropping systems. Genetic and molecular approaches will be used at three critical levels to gain new insights on potential regulatory targets of the infection: the broomrapes per se, the host plants and their interaction (host-parasite). Research will target two of the most important crops in the Mediterranean. i.e. industrial tomato and faba beans. Surveillance tools utilizing remote and satellite images will be employed for monitoring parasitism and for large-scale documentation. Innovation tools will consist of molecular approaches for screening and identification of tolerant/resistant hosts and hormone host-parasite interactions. Deciphering the molecular basis for resistance utilizing pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) and other defense-triggering molecules aiming to support breeding of resistant host plants. Solutions will be integrated in an integrated pest management (IPM) context targeting several innovations such as prevention, biological/non-chemical approaches, and other IPM strategies. Agronomic practices will be scientifically supported by a validated model for prediction of parasitism emergenceacross various Mediterranean locations and farming systems. Solutions will be socioeconomically evaluated, implemented and disseminated in a participatory way. The dissemination of the Project outputs will be based on a systems-thinking approach and the solutions that will be proposed will be highly accessible via an innovative web platform designed to satisfy requirements of a wide range of end-users. 


    The main goal of ZeroParasitic is to integrate innovative solutions into a realistic framework through a trans-disciplinary, multi-actor effort targeting broomrapes, which is one of the most critical disease/weed in Mediterranean countries, posing a significant threat to various key cropping systems in the region.

    The specific objectives are as follows:

    Objective 1. Identify new genetic variability in different species for broomrape tolerance/resistance

    Objective 2. Identify molecular genetic markers in mapping populations and in contrasting genotypes at different phases of parasite-plant interaction

    Objective 3. Identify new hormones and metabolites involved in broomrape germination, haustorial development and plant infection during host-plant interaction

    Objective 4. Identify the molecular basis of resistance based on pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) to enhance capabilities for targeted breeding of resistance

    Objective 5. Provide IPM solutions that are supported by innovative tools such as modelling of emergence of parasitism, validated under different Med cropping systems

    Objective 6. Provide surveillance tools for local, regional and national scale monitoring of the parasitism Objective 7. Disseminate the results among stakeholders, engaging with them in the co-creation of innovative solutions and provide training to farmers to facilitate prevention of broomrape expansion