The eighth meeting of the Allium Working Group was held in Skierniewice, Poland, from 11-12 October 2022.
The ECPGR Allium Working Group held its eighth regular meeting in Skierniewice, Poland, on 11-12 October 2022. The meeting was organized with the excellent support of the National Institute for Horticultural Research (InHort) and was attended by representatives of 13 countries in presence, while other attendees had the opportunity to follow the meeting online. The Co-Chair of the Working Group on Cryopreservation, Milós Faltus, Czech Republic, also attended and was instrumental in starting cooperation between the two Working Groups. After an overview of the past Working Group activities made by Chair Helena Stavělíková, Czech Republic, each country representative presented the status of their Allium collections, including main problems and proposals for collaborative action. An overview of the status of global Allium collections was offered by Chris Kik, The Netherlands, while M. Faltus presented the state of the art for cryopreservation of vegetatively propagated Allium. A breeder from MoravoSeeds, Ľudovít Nedorost, Czech Republic, provided information on the expectations from the breeding sector, stressing the difficulties in garlic breeding and the need to adapt to climatic changes with the use of new variability. The importance to facilitate access to genebank material and information was also highlighted. The database manager of the ECPGR Allium Database, Manuela Nagel, Germany, informed the Group that the database will not be further developed and that it would be useful that countries could transfer to EURISCO any data that are currently not included there. She also expressed concerns for the taxonomic collection of the vegetatively propagated Allium at IPK, Gatersleben, since its future maintenance may no longer be sustainable. The Group expressed alarm about the uncertain destiny of this collection, which is considered a unique reference in the global context.
The Group decided to focus its collaborative action on the preparation of a project proposal under the ongoing ECPGR Grant Scheme Sixth Call. The project, in collaboration with the Working Group on cryopreservation, will aim at defining a strategy for garlic conservation in Europe, including sharing tasks for cryopreservation. Priority accessions will be defined through systematic genotyping and phenotyping of garlic accessions provided by partner genebanks.
The Group was pleased to visit the new premises of the Regional Centre for Horticultural Biodiversity in Skierniewice, as well as the fruit trees collections in Dąbrowice and the genebank demonstration plots at the Nieborów museum.