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Development of strategies for the sustainability of the kiwi industry through the creation of a value-added product

Monitoring abiotic and biotic factors and correlation with production rates and disease occurrence
Diseases associated with kiwifruit production
Innovative solutions to control Psa
Viability and application of pollen
Multifactorial characterization of actinidea varieties
Dissemination, dissemination and demonstration activities

Description of main activities

Monitoring abiotic and biotic factors and correlation with production indices and disease occurrence:

A) Identification of test plots

Representative fields will be identified for the soil and climate contexts of the different producing regions, as well as for different cultivars based on severity/resilience to Psa infection.

B) Implementation of a monitoring system of abiotic factors

A benchmarking of emerging technologies for distributed monitoring systems of abiotic factors in the area of precision agriculture with focus on the kiwi, such as Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN) will be carried out.

C) Development of a web application to collect, process and make available information on abiotic factors and occurrences in the orchards

Based on this study, a monitoring system will be implemented, composed of hardware and software components, which will be integrated in a “symbiotic” way in order to collect as much information as possible of the conditioning parameters, both of the production and of the diseases associated to the Sector, thus making it possible to correlate abiotic factors with diseases and production indexes. The application will also be able to generate alerts for better management by producers.

D) Quantification of pollinators and characterization of the global diversity of insects.

Pollinator insects will be monitored in the fields characterised for abiotic factors quantifying natural pollination services and their impacts on production with the aim of determining the degree of dependence of the orchard on additional artificial pollination. Traps will also be installed to determine the overall insect diversity in order to detect and identify potential pests by phytophagous insects.

Diseases associated with kiwifruit production

A) Identification of Orchards

Orchards of different cultivars will be identified based on severity/resilience to Psa infection.

B) Record keeping of farming practices

A record of agricultural practices used in order to mitigate the effects caused by Psa will be prepared.

C) Determination of the biogenetic diversity of Pseudomonas spp. and Psa populations.

The genetic and structural diversity of Pseudomonas spp. and Psa populations present will be determined and their phenotypic properties associated with pathogenicity on distinct cultivars of Actinidia will be evaluated. Data on symptomatology, losses and persistence will also be collected.

D) Virulence tests of the different strains on different cultivars.

Pathogenicity tests will be performed on different cultivars in order to identify Psa strains with higher virulence.

E) Identification of potential reservoirs of Psa.

Potential reservoirs of Psa will be identified and their management will be included in the Technical Manual to be prepared.

F) Identifying the organisms responsible for fruit damage.

The microrganisms responsible for fruit damage will be isolated and identified.

Innovative solutions to control Psa

A) Analysis of the actinida microbiota.

The actinida microbiota naturally present in healthy orchards will be characterised and compared with the microbiota of orchards infected with Psa.

B) Selection of consortia/strains with higher potential for antagonistic activity

Strains belonging to the majority populations present in healthy orchards and affected by Psa infection will be tested, in different formulations, as potential antagonists in test fields for integration into disease control strategies. The most effective one(s) will be selected.

C) Tests with different formulations in co-infection trials with Psa in actinidia plants.

Naturally occurring strains or consortia of strains will also be tested for their potential as activators of the plant’s immune system that can be integrated into strategies for the prevention and/or mitigation of infection by Psa. Select the most effective one(s).

D) Real-life application of the most efficient treatments to control Psa infection identified in B and C and monitoring of trials over time.

Viability and pollen application

A) Selection of best males.

Pollen producing males will be identified in situ based on cultivar, their flowering synchronization with females, pollen quality and susceptibility to Psa. The most effective one(s) will be selected.

B) Pollination and pollen viability tests to determine pollen quality.

The pollen quality of the selected males will be tested through in vitro pollen viability tests in the laboratory and in situ in the selected fields with the aim of providing an important parameter for selection of the high quality male.

C) Testing the persistence of Psa in pollen over time.

The persistence of Psa in pollen will be evaluated by monitoring the viability of pollen over time in order to certify the quality of the pollen after being submitted to different treatments.

E) New methodologies and technologies of pollen application.

New pollen application technologies will be tested with validation of the results by monitoring the efficiency of the method based on the amount of pollen used per hectare and the amount of pollen deposited in the flowers and subsequent relationship with the production index.

Multifactorial characterization of actinidea varieties

A) In vitro cloning of cuttings from selected plants

Plants will be identified that are well adapted to the soil and climate conditions of our territory and that can replace existing varieties that are less interesting due to genetic erosion, the soil and climate context, susceptibility to diseases and changes in consumer preferences.

B) Evaluation of the susceptibility of selected plants to Psa infection.

In situ multifactorial identification of actinid cultivars as part of integrated solutions for Psa management and control. Assessment of their susceptibility to Psa infection, relating it to their adaptation to site soil and climatic conditions and productivity.

Dissemination, dissemination and demonstration activities

  • Production of scientific articles in journals with referee.
  • Provision of information for dissemination on the National Rural Network platform and through this website.
  • Participation in congresses, symposia, colloquia and specialty fairs.
  • Participation in seminars, symposia or other events with presentation of a communication within the scope of the project.
  • Dissemination of results in magazines and technical bulletins.
  • Preparation and dissemination of a Technical Manual.
  • Demonstration of the results for nurserymen, producers and technicians.
  • Organisation of a National Congress at the end of the project.
  • Organisation of technical-scientific Conferences, one each year of the project, to disseminate results.
  • Providing information for dissemination on the National Rural Network platform and through this website.
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