Ten Fundació Centre de Recerca en Agrotecnologia-Agrotecnio research groups will participate in five exploratory two-year projects (“Seed Projects”). The projects have been evaluated by an ad hoc committee and will be funded by Agrotecnio. In addition to embarking on new lines of research, the initiative will catalyze further collaborations among the Agrotecnio research groups, companies and end users in the agri-food sector. The objectives and participants in each proposal are described below:
- The effect of different N fertilization sources on the oil and meal quality of three varieties of Camelina (Camelina sativa Crantz). Its main objective is to compare diverse nitrogen fertilizer inputs on different Camelina cultivars and their impact on the composition and quality of its meal and oil mainly for feed, without discarding food and non-food purposes. Four research groups are involved in the project: Crop Protection (Aritz Royo), Agronomy (Carlos Cantero-Martínez), Animal Nutrition and Environment (Joaquim Balcells) and Food Bioactive Compounds (Mari Paz Romero).
- Impact of adiposity on pig microbiota and pork consumer preferences. The impact of increased fat on the salivary and gut microbial communities and on consumer preferences towards fresh pork will be investigated using a variant in the porcine leptin receptor gene that has been associated with a form of obesity. The project involves three research groups: Animal Breeding (Joan Estany), Animal Nutrition and Environment (Gabriel de la Fuente) and New Technologies for Food Processing (Laura Salvia).
- Impact of fertilization on crop-weed competition through the soil microbiome. The aim of this project is to characterize soil microbial communities in soil treated with different types of fertilizers, from fully mineral to organic, and to monitor interactions between crops and weeds under field conditions. The research groups involved are: Crop Protection (Bàrbara Baraibar), Applied Plant Biotechnology (Daniel Plaza-Bonilla) and the Joint Research Unit CTFC-Agrotecnio (Jonàs Oliva).
- Sustainable and environmentally friendly fungal resistant Bomba rice through genome editing. Genome editing will be used to generate a rice variety with durable resistance to fungal blast disease. The Applied Plant Biotechnology (Paul Christou) and Forest Management (Jordi Voltas) research groups are involved.
- Analysing the physiological effects and developing simple protocols for high throughput automatic determination of seedling and spike densities to provide support to selection in breeding programs. The proposal pursues two objectives: to understand the impact of seedling density, early vigor and spike density at flowering on crop yield; and to develop an effective tool to determine these parameters in hundreds of plots. The Plant Phenomics (Shawn C. Kefauver) and Crop Physiology (Gustavo Slafer) research groups will work in the project with the seed company Semillas Batlle.
The Fundació Centre de Recerca en Agrotecnologia-Agrotecnio’s internal call for “Seed Projects” is a component of the center’s strategy to develop and execute cutting edge multidisciplinary research projects encompassing the entire agri-food value chain. Such multidisciplinary projects reported major advances in their fields, demonstrated by the quality of resulting publications and interactions with the commercial sector.