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Scientific and technological developments for sustainable cultivation and comprehensive use of sea buckthorn

Title of the project: Scientific and technological developments for sustainable cultivation and comprehensive use of sea buckthorn

Funding: Latvian Council of Science

Project number: 672/2014

Period: 2014-2017

Project manager: Dr.biol. A. Zeltiņš

The sea buckthorn (further SBT) (Hippophae rhamnoides L.) has been used for centuries in medicine, cosmetics and food. Although SBT has been cultivated in Europe for a while and is rapidly increasing, there are several unsolved aspects and unexploited niches in SBT industry. In Latvia and also other European countries as major botlenecks in SBT cultivation and related industries requiring comprehensive scientific input the following were identified: 1) low level of germplasm characterization and incorrect identification, lack of gender detection markers; 2) efficient micropropagation technology not available; 3) rapidly emerging problems with diseases and pests and they are poorly studied; 4) highly valuable by-products from processing industry are not utilized due to lack of knowledge and technology.

Therefore following objectives were defined: 1) Implementation and application of molecular genetic methods and genetic characterization of SBT plant material for targeted selection process and true-to-type plant propagation (WP1); 2) Development of SBT micro-propagation technology and establishment of disease-free core collection of key genotypes (WP2); 3) Identification and characterization of SBT diseases and pests prevailing in Latvia (WP3); 4) Development of novel bioactive non-food sea buckthorn products and their clinical evaluation (WP4).

The project consortium consist of four partners: Latvia State Institute of Fruit-Growing (LSIFG), Pūre Horticultural Research Centre (Pūre HRC), Latvian Biomedical Research and Study Centre (LBMC), Latvia University of Agriculture, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (LLU VM), and associated cooperator Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. The Consortium members have competence and facilities in research areas significant for the achievement of the common goal and objectives: LSIFG - experimental orchard, greenhouses, laboratories of molecular biology, plant pathology, biochemistry, experimental processing; Pūre HRC - laboratory of in vitro propagation; LBMC - laboratories of virology, biotechnology and Next Generetation Sequencing (NGS) equipment; LLU VM - clinical trial site. The research work of the project is organized in four work packages (WPs) and most competent partner is apointet as a leader. LSIFG is a leading partner and will be responsible for the implementation of the project as whole and coordination among concorcium partners, will lead WP1 and WP3: genetic characterization of SBT and implementation of sex-specific molecular markers; evaluation of SBT somaclonal variation; establishment of disease-free SBT core collection; identification and characterization of SBT major diseases and pests prevailing in Latvia; preparation of data sheets on major SBT diseases and pests; preparation of press cake, extracts development and their chemical content evaluation. Pūre HRS will lead WP2 and will be responsible for development of SBT micro-propagation technology and establishment of disease-free core collection of key genotypes. LBMC (WP3) will be responsible for virology studies, identification and discovery of new plant viruses by NGS approaches. LLU VM (WP4) will be responsible for providing clinical experiments with animals, clarifying the effective dose of SBT extracts for improvement of immunity of calves, and further development of the calves, productivity and meat quality.

Development of new research methods in WP1 will facilitate maintenance of germplasm, breeding of SBT. Knowledge on gender heritability and species genetic diversity will be directly applicable for other reaserchers, breeders and farmers. Planned results of WP2 will give significant impact in the development of commercial technology for SBT in vitro propagation, ensuring production of healthy, high quality planting material. Scientific information generated within WP3 on SBT diseases and pests, by use of NGS technique discovery of viruses possibly new to science will alow to predict biological treads for SBT and serve basics for further establishment of sustainable plant protection systems in the orchards. As a practical result we aim to develop fact sheets on main diseases and pests. Characterization of bio-compounds in SBT by-products and development of extracts in WP4 will promote the establishment of recommendations for the required feed supplementation to improve an immune system, health of calf and the quality of meat. The new knowledge generated within the frame of this project by the concorcium involving researchers from several science disciplines will result in scientific, technological and agro-industrial bedrocks for an improved and comprehensive cultivation and use of SBT.

Mājas lapas izstrādi finansēja ERAF aktivitātes projekts Nr. 2010/0196/2DP/ "Latvijas biomedicīnas pētījumu integrācija Eiropas zinātnes telpā".