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Project results so far

In the first three years of the SolACE project, the team produce a wide range of results. Here is a brief summary:

  • A Handbook of protocols and methodology has been produced. This harmonized document allows partners to collect methods and data. It is linked to the Data Template, a repository for data collected by the project with harmonised formats, units and variable names, facilitating future scenario modelling. A document of combination of stresses tested in past projects was also finalised.
  • Large panels of diversity were selected in bread and durum wheat (250 genotypes), phenotyped both in field conditions and platforms, including unique root phenotyping facilities in controlled and semi-field conditions, in order to search for traits suitable to cope with combined water and nitrogen limitations. Phenotyping for above- and below-ground traits was also conducted for a wide range of potato genotypes under combined water and nitrogen or phosphorus limitation. For belowground traits, root traits have been investigated, as well as traits related to rhizosphere microbiome and mycorrhizal status. On top improving our understanding of how these crops cope with combined water and nutrient stress, through the use of modelling as well, these phenotypic data helped identifying genotypes to be tested, and were provided for quantitative genetic approaches.
  • Different field trials have been set up in different climatic regions in France, Germany, Switzerland, Hungary, Spain, Italy and Portugal to test agro-management practices to improve stress resilience of potato, bread and durum wheat. Several plant genotypes were planted and the tested practices included: tillage practices, crop rotations, fertilizer additives, genotype mixtures, microbial inoculants and decision support tools. The inoculants were selected in greenhouse experiments. A combination of strains and formulations were developed enabling entrapment of multiple microbial strains in one formulation (Minigran® technology).
  • Novel genetic materials for investigating marker-trait associations have been developed, new Quantitative Trait Loci for above- and below-ground traits of yield adaptation to combined stresses have been found, and thus gene-derived markers (tools) for breeding have been created. New genomic selection models were developed in bread and durum wheat, based on root traits, for improving yield adaptation under combined stress. New genotypes are being produced and need to be further tested. A participatory breeding strategy in durum wheat with farmers in 3 countries is currently ongoing, producing a wealth of phenotypic and genotypic data to investigate evolutionary changes driven by combined stresses. Novel F1 hybrid combinations in diploid potato and bread wheat are currently tested.
  • All seven farmer networks of the project have begun testing novel genotypes and innovations (e.g. microbial inoculants, grain legume pre-crops, conservation agriculture) under real-world conditions, i.e. on-farm in several locations with contrasting pedoclimatic conditions. Preliminary results for inoculants and potato hybrids have not been encouraging, but wheat hybrids, introduction of grain legumes in rotation and conservation agriculture approaches continue to attract interest among farmer participants.
  • Finally, SolACE communication team has engaged stakeholders mostly through three Stakeholders’ events, interviews, emails, and newsletters. With SolACE partners, the team produced a range of dissemination materials, practice abstracts, videos and newsletters. All dissemination materials are communicated through the website as well as social media and partner channels.