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Safeguarding of potato onion (Allium cepa L. Aggregatum group) and garlic (Allium sativum L.) crop diversity in North Europe - Baltic region

Activity Coordinator:  Helena Stavělíková  [1]

The project "Safeguarding of potato onion (Allium cepa L. Aggregatum group) and garlic (Allium sativum L.) crop diversity in North Europe - Baltic region", submitted by the Allium Working Group for funding under the Fourth Call of the ECPGR Activity Grant Scheme, was selected by the Executive Committee and approved in December 2016.


October 2017
Further to the meeting, the Activity Coordinator has compiled the questionnaires that had been distributed to partners to gather information about their Allium collections: type of collection, type of conservation (in vitro, cryoconservation), source of new accessions, description, chemical analyses, DNA analyses, safety duplication, cooperation with other genebanks, current projects, other activities relayed to genetic resources. The summary was sent to all Activity partners and  it was decided that the questionnaire would also be sent to all members of the Allium Working Group. Other tasks are in progress.

July 2017
The first SafeAlliDiv project meeting was held 11-12 July 2017 in Tallinn, Estonia. Participants from Croatia, Czechia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, Norway and Sweden presented the situation about Allium crop cultivation and conservation in their respective countries, with particular emphasis on potato onion/shallot (Allium cepa L., Aggregatum group) and garlic (Allium sativum L.).  
The project aims to complement the existing molecular marker analysis of Nordic potato onions that was recently carried out in Sweden, with analysis of additional material from partner countries, in order to reach a better understanding of existing genetic diversity in collections and in the fields. The group agreed on criteria to select and acquire accessions, to be sent to the Latvian State Forest Research Institute for molecular analysis. The same material will also be characterized morphologically.    
Based on the project results, the group will be able to promote inclusion of unique accessions into the AEGIS European Collection, as well as systematically implement safety duplication measures.  
The group visited potato onion fields in the Lake Peipus area, where traditional cultivation is based on heterogeneous seed-propagated material, differently from the customary use in other countries to grow this crop from bulbs. Different propagation methods have implications on heterogeneity of the product as well as on its phytosanitary status. The project intends to compile a guidebook on potato onion cultivation practices.

Participants in the meeting at a potato onion farm in Kolkja by the Lake Peipus, Estonia (photo: L.Maggioni)

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