Conservation and germination of Mediterranean native grape cultivars: the BESTMEDGRAPE project develops standardized methods
In the framework of the BESTMEDGRAPE project, the Sardinian Germplasm Bank (BG-SAR), as part of the Hortus Botanicus Karalitanus (HBK) of the University of Cagliari (lead beneficiary of the project) is in charge of the activities related to ex situ conservation, management, seed testing and seedling development for the Mediterranean grape cultivarsBG-SAR is a reference centre for studies and activities on seed germination ecophysiology.
Grape (Vitis vinifera L. ssp. vinifera) is one of the most ancient and valuable fruit-bearing plants in the world. It played a role of primary importance for societies around the Mediterranean, and it is ranked third in fruit production (FAO STAT Database).
Collection of native grape cultivars in France, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon and Tunisia
Under the BESTMEDGRAPE project, international and native grape cultivars were selected by each country involved (Jordan, Tunisia, Italy, France and Lebanon), in order to compare the results that will be obtained from the different analyses carried out. The other cultivars are represented by native species cultivated in the different territories involved in the project, with the aim to identify the most resistant plants to use in further or possible programs of breeding.
All involved partners collected and sent to BG-SAR grape materials (pomaces and seeds) from the Mediterranean area, so the team started the processing of seeds towards conservation and simultaneously germination experiments.
Seed germination is a crucial stage in the life history of a plant and it is the process by which a seed develops into a seedling. In particular, grape seeds are dormant and require periods of cold stratification at different temperatures before they germinate.
Seed dormancy is of agricultural and ecological importance, and also affects the uniformity of germination of crops during field establishment, and poses a major challenge in seed testing and genebank operations, as dormant seeds will not germinate even under optimum conditions.
Thus, to obtain comprehensive information about seed dormancy release and germination characteristics of different grape cultivars through the Mediterranean area, it is important to conduct research on selected cultivars seeds.
During BESTMEDGRAPE project, we tested dormancy release and germination behaviour in response to various pre-treatments in order to better understand if the environmental characteristics affect them, and offer regeneration strategy of grape seed for these cultivars.
Germination tests consist of three replicates of 25 seeds for each experimental condition sown on the surface of 1% agar water in 90 mm diameter plastic Petri dishes and incubated simulating a day/night cycle (12 h light/12 h dark) under a range of constant temperatures (20 and 25°C) and under an alternating temperature regime (25/10°C). In the alternating temperature regime, the 12 h light period coincided with the higher temperature period. In addition, all seeds were stored at the Sardinian Germplasm Bank for medium and long term conservation.
The ultimate goal of our work is to provide the project partners with standardized methods for conservation and multiplication of Mediterranean native grape cultivars, always considering local needs.
About BESTMEDGRAPE project
The BESTMEDGRAPE ("New Business opportunities & Environmental suSTainability using MED GRAPE nanotechnological products") project aims to promote technology transfer in the field of grape cultivar valorisation/eco-sustainable exploitation of winemaking waste to obtain nanotechnological products for human health, supporting at the same time the creation of start-ups and SMEs. For more information, please visit the project website.