08 Jul 2022

Breeding Value, the EU project set to unlock the secrets of taste and quality

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The scientific journal 'The Plant Journal' recently published an extensive article on Breeding Value, a wide-ranging project that lays the foundations for accelerated research and varietal development centred on the resources of the European continent.

Fresh berries are a popular and important component of the human diet. The demand for high-quality berries and sustainable production methods is increasing globally, challenging breeders to develop modern berry cultivars that meet all desired characteristics.

Since 1994, research projects have characterised genetic resources, developed modern tools for high-throughput screening and published data in public archives. However, the key results of the different disciplines are rarely inter linked and only a limited range of traits and genotypes have been studied.

The Horizon2020 BreedingValue project will address these challenges by studying in detail a larger group of strawberry, raspberry and blueberries genotypes in order to recover the lost genetic diversity that has limited the aroma and flavour intensity of recent cultivars.

BREEDING VALUE TO ENHANCE GENETIC RESOURCES

Prof. Bruno Mezzetti, coordinator of the project, told Italian Berry that "the article published in the prestigious journal The Plant Journal summarises the research activities carried out over the last 25 years by the main European and international research groups to enhance the genetic resources of strawberry, raspberry and blueberry and how the new Horizon 2020 project BreedingValue intends to continue this research activity starting from the analysis of the genetic diversity existing in germplasm conservation centres and in the main public and private genetic improvement programmes active at European level."

Bruno Mezzetti, coordinator of Breeding Value
Bruno Mezzetti, coordinator of Breeding Value

According to Mezzetti, 'the aim is to develop new genomic and phenotypic selection technologies and to provide new prebreeding material to be used as crossing material for the creation of future strawberry, raspberry and blueberry varieties characterised by high resilience and consumer quality.'

Metabolic analysis will be combined with sensory tests and surveys to identify the key components of taste, flavour and aroma of berries in Europe, resulting in a high-resolution map of quality requirements for future berry cultivars. Traits related to berry yield and the effect of environmental stress will be studied using modern image analysis and modelling methods.

Geneticanalysis will also be usedto determine the genetic basis of complex traits for the development and optimisation of modern selection technologies, such as molecular marker arrays, genomic selection and genome-wide association studies.

Finally, the results, raw data and metadata will be made publicly available on the open Germinate platform in order to fulfil the FAIR data principles and provide the basis for sustainable research in the future.

Read the full paper (30 pages) hereTowards smart and sustainable development of modern berry cultivars in Europe by Elisa SengerSonia OsorioKlaus OlbrichtPaul ShawBéatrice DenoyesJahn DavikStefano Predieri, Saila KarhuSebastian Raubach, Nico LippiMonika HöferHelen Cockerton, Christophe PradalEbru Kafkas, Suzanne Litthauer, Björn UsadelBruno Mezzetti

Photo Racool_studio - en.freepik.com

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