Med-Berry : Developing new strategies to protect strawberry crop in Mediterranean countries

Project identifier 184-MED-BERRY
Project Status ongoing
Start date 2019-09-01
End date 2022-08-31
Roadmap Theme
  • Sustainable intensification: Identification and breeding of animals and crops to maintain/increase productivity
  • Type of Project Applied research project
    Programme PRIMA
    Keyword new breeding technologies; new agrochemicals; strawberry germplasm
    Location Italy; Spain; France; Morocco; Turkey
    Budget 1 264 011
    Main Funder Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (DG RTD) (H2020)
    Coordinator University of Bologna
    Partners
  • University of Milan
  • Viveros California SL
  • Universit√† Politecnica delle Marche (UNIVPM)
  • Hassan II Institute of Agronomy and Veterinary Sciences (IAV)
  • INVENIO
  • University of Cordoba (UCO)
  • Cukurova University
  • French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment (INRAE)
  • Project Web Site https://medberry-prima.eu/
    Documents PRIMA funded projects 2018

    Description

    Context

    Strawberry is fundamental crop for Mediterranean countries. Up to 26% of the world strawberries are produced and important strawberry industries and scientific community are active here. Strawberry fruits have unique flavour and precious nutritional properties and their economic value is extremely high. Growing healthy strawberry using sustainable protection solutions that preserve the fruits quality and yield, and respect human health and environment is a challenging task, specially under the temperature increase in Mediterranean basin. In this project complementary expertise of researchers from public and private institutions from Italy, Spain, France, Morocco and Turkey are joined in the effort to develop innovative tools, protocols and strategies suited to revise the pathogen control strategies in view of innovative concepts of protection management. Here, conventional instruments (e.g. traditional breeding programs made with local germplasm) are integrated with New Breeding Techniques (NBT) able to develop new plants and products that counteract the most aggressive pathogens and the new phytosanitary emergences.

    Objectives

    Med-Berry has 4 objectives:

    1. Resistant genes identification and exploitation. Local resistant germplasm will be used to develop resistant varieties against fungal diseases

    2. Development of NBT protocols, and RNA interference molecules. Intragenesis protocols will be applied to study the role of key strawberry defense genes to increase fruit resistance. Specific dsRNA molecules will be designed to target pathogen key genes by topical application on plants (SIGS).

    3. Socio-economic impact analysis. The economic sustainability of the developed solutions and their social acceptability across the Mediterranean countries will be evaluated to obtain realistic measure of the potential application of the new strategies.

    4. Dissemination. Large effort will be put to disseminate results in different farming and industrial contexts and to share the newly achieved knowledge through the strawberry research network and the organization of training activities.

    Expected impacts

    Med-Berry results will lead to i) a lower risk of increase in infection rate and severity of fungal diseases due to climate change in Mediterranean countries, through development of new strawberry varieties and new agrochemicals; ii) a higher economic, social and environmental sustainability of the disease control in Mediterranean countries; iii) development of new agrochemicals and strawberry industries innovation; iv) healthier and safer fruits to consumers.