Latest SCI publications

Latest Projects

Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2023-12-01 - 2023-12-31

Secondary plant metabolites (SPM) are contained in vegetables, fruit, pulses, nuts and wholegrain products and give fruit and vegetables and products made from them many health-promoting properties. The DGE recommends a high intake of vegetables and fruit, including pulses and nuts, as well as wholegrain products to ensure a good supply of phytochemicals to support wellbeing. The content of SPS in plant-based raw materials and products depends on numerous factors, such as plant species, variety, growing conditions, storage and, of course, processing and preservation, which are the focus of research. The effects of processing on the various secondary plant metabolites can vary greatly, depending on the process, the content is reduced or may even be more available. While processing is beneficial in terms of availability, heat, oxygen and mechanical processing have a reducing effect on other substances. There is therefore a need for further research on specific products in order to determine actual changes and counteract the losses. The aim of the research is therefore to quantify the losses along the processing chain of sprouts, from the raw material to the finished product, based on the antioxidant potential.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2023-06-01 - 2027-05-31

The genetic improvement of crop plants is a key strategy to adapt agricultural production to climate change, invasive pathogens, higher demands on product quality and quantity, and product differentiation. Conventional breeding is a long-established strategy for crop improvement, but it can take many years to bring innovative crosses onto the market and, in addition, can lead to the loss of distinctive traits of elite cultivars. The direct transfer of genes and other genetic elements into elite crops produces genetically modified (GM) varieties with desirable features much more rapidly than conventional breeding, but the GM –derived plant materials are hampered by health and environmental safety concerns. Actually, the limitations of conventional breeding and GM technology can be overcome by genome editing, which accelerates basic research and plant breeding by allowing the rapid introduction of targeted mutations. The cultivated olive (Olea europaea, subsp. europaea, var. europaea) is one of the most important oil crops in the world and 95% of total olive oil production derives from the Mediterranean Basin. The olive crop counts a very rich varietal heritage, represented by more than 1,200 named cultivars, over 3,000 minor cultivars and an uncertain number of genotypes including pollinators, local ecotypes, and centennial trees. Among these, only a few have a large area of cultivation and a clear impact on the production of oil and table olives. Contrariwise, the availability of a large set of well characterized and highly different cultivars is critical to increase the ability to face new agronomical challenges and future climatic constraints, diversifying the gene pools and preserving unique genetic traits currently available. The overall objective of the project is to develop genomics tools and to identify the bases of resistance to Xf for their application in germplasm screening, genomics-assisted breeding and generating new Xf-resistant olive genotypes. To reach this ambitious objective, critical steps are the generation and analysis of massive genomic datasets, the establishment of transformation and regeneration tools from single and multiple cell explants for a successful application of DNA-free genome editing protocols. To address the challenges posed by the notorious recalcitrance of olive in vitro manipulations, EU and national research centers representing leading research teams in genomics, genetic improvement technologies and in vitro cultures are being involved.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2023-02-01 - 2026-01-31

REGACE will develop and validate a disruptive radical innovative technology that will make Agrivoltaics a major contributor to the EU clean energy portfolio. The technology is highly competitive compared to other solutions, because it fully addresses the desired destination impact of clear affordable energy with a projected installed cost for customer of €600 per kilowatt compared to €880 for ground based Photovoltaic fields. Furthermore, the system demonstrated in this project is also cost effective in areas with less sunshine, which currently are outside areas for which Agrivoltaics could be considered. The core technology is a responsive tracking system mounted in the greenhouse driven by a PLC controller that changes the angle of the tracking system according to the plants’ needs. We will test a system using CO2 enrichment as a means to increase electricity production in low light conditions by increasing the angle of incidence of the bifacial panels in the tracking system. The tracking system is hung with a few screws from the supports of the greenhouse, removing the need for wind-proof supports, reducing the price per installed kilowatt. Thus, this technology allows not only for the dual use of land, but also for the dual use of infrastructure. The design of the technology also leads to reduced construction and maintenance costs, duration of execution, and moreover through reduction of CO2 emissions. In addition to the economic impact, this will also lead to significant positive effect on ecological-environmental sustainability and reduced ecological foot-print through its life-span maintenance and operation. It will also lead to the diversification of the energy producing market with small holding greenhouse owners playing a significant part in the market. The technology will be tested in operational industrial environments in six locations with different greenhouse types and crops.

Supervised Theses and Dissertations