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med berry

Developing new strategies to protect strawberry crop in Mediterranean countries. (Med-Berry)

Strawberry is fundamental crop for Mediterranean countries, the 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.

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 in struments (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.


Universidad de Córdoba

The Med-Berry project aims are 4:

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.


Task 2.1. A. tumefaciens plasmid constructs.
Task 2.2. Agroinfiltration of FaAAT2 and FaDOF2 promoters: GFP fusion constructs.
Task 2.3. Stable strawberry intragenic lines expressing FaWRKY1-RNAi and FaNPR3.1-RNAi driven by FaAAT2 and FaDOF2 promoters.
Task 3.1. Identification of specific fungal target gene sequences to be silenced and preparation of hairpin gene contructs for HIGS and SIGS applications.

- D2.1. A. tumefaciens strains carrying the plasmid constructs and expression of GFP/GUS in fruit.
- D2.2. Expression of GFP/GUS in fruit. The delivery will ensure the correct expression pattern of the two selected promoter sequences.
- D2.3. Stable red transformant intragenic lines silencing target genes. The delivery will allow to undertake the molecular characterization of candidates lines.
- D3.1. New hairpin gene constructs for the defence against specific fungal pathogens.

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.

Biotecnología y Farmacognosia Vegetal

Code PAIDI: BIO-278

José Luis Caballero Repullo . Partner. 

Universidad de Córdoba

Budget of Andalusian group: € 170,000.00

Keywords: new breeding technologies; new agrochemicals; strawberry germplasm
Duration: 36 months. September, 1th 2019 to August, 31th 2022
Project cost: € 1,264,011.00