Service Communautaire d'Information sur la Recherche et le Développement - CORDIS

Applying biotechnology to aromatic plants

Methods were developed for the identification, certification and mass production of healthy plant propagation material of grapevine rootstocks and cultivars, fruit trees and a number of aromatic plants mainly of Greek origin. The aromatic plants were examined with respect to their potential industrial utilities such as the antiviral, antimicrobial and insecticidal applications of their essential oils. In particular, identification of 20 Greek grapevine cultivars was carried out using pollen enzyme polymorphisms detected electrophoretically. Also, virological screening was carried out for virus-free grapevine plant propagation material. Methods were developed for in vitro regeneration and propagation on a large scale for some of the species. The immunological assays used in fruit-tree virus detection encountered problems due to low virus concentration and uneven distribution in the trees. However, methods to overcome such problems were developed and validated. The detection technique immunocapture-polymerase chain reaction (IC-PCR) also allows direct access to the viral genome and therefore to the molecular variability of viruses. Finally, it was found that the activity of the essential oils varied when different biological assays were used. For example, the essential oil of Salvia fruticosa did not exhibit any antimicrobial activity but it has been proved to be a strong antiviral substance.

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