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CORDIS - Forschungsergebnisse der EU

Climate Resilient Orphan croPs for increased DIVersity in Agriculture

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - CROPDIVA (Climate Resilient Orphan croPs for increased DIVersity in Agriculture)

Berichtszeitraum: 2021-09-01 bis 2023-02-28

CROPDIVA will reinforce agrobiodiversity in European agricultural cropping systems on different levels and along distinct geographic and socio-economic areas resulting in resilient food and feed production systems. To realise the project objectives CROPDIVA will focus on (1) the promotion of six underutilised crops: oats, triticale, hull-less barley, narrow-leafed lupin, buckwheat and faba bean in various cropping systems, (2) on the creation of new value chains and on the examination of the socio-economic impact and of the ecosystem services particularly with respect to the new and diversified cropping systems.

The selected crops have unique features. Firstly, the six underutilised crops are characterised by a broad genepool, which serves as a reservoir for important traits related to e.g. resilience to (a)biotic stress as well as nutritional quality. This great genetic ensures the development of climate resilient varieties. Secondly, the selected crops have great ecological benefits and advantages for a sustainable crop management system. For example, many of them produce nectar rich flowers and/or biologically fix nitrogen. Others result in early stubble, which allow to sowing cover/catch crops as a second crop or they mature early leading to a lower transpiration coefficient and less water use. Thirdly, these crops possess a high nutritious and food technological value, which create many possibilities to develop new food/feed and non-food products; a more diversified value chain will provide new market opportunities for the local food/feed and associated non-food industry and will provide opportunities for new innovative products tailored to the local demand.
The work performed is described in relation to the 10 objectives clustered around 3 operational areas (OA).
OA 1. In-depth study and promotion of six key underutilised crops.
1. Identification of current socio-economic and agricultural challenges for more agrobiodiversity.
To identify important knowledge gaps and research opportunities an evidence synthesis was carried out. In relation to the socio-economic aspects, the number of studies are sparse. To set up new value chains, these studies are a prerequisite and are carried out in WP 5.
2. Definition of future breeding goals.
There are different needs depending on the crop. For e.g. triticale and oats, there’s a clear need for the development of new breeding tools, whereas for buckwheat, narrow-leaved lupin and hull-less barley it is necessary to have better insights in the desirable traits. Furthermore, it became clear that there are opportunities to specifically focus on breeding for intercropping purposes and to focus on traits in relation to the provision of ecosystem services.
3. Exploration of the genetic diversity and the potential by analysing gene banks and (pre)breeding populations. Development of breeding tools to enable future selection of enhanced novel cultivars.
To map the genetic diversity, large screening trials were laid out at different locations with a focus on different traits for the different crops e.g. stripe rust in triticale, winter hardiness in facultative oats. For some crops the accessions have already been sequenced for other this is work in progress. These results will serve as basis to initiate new breeding tools.
4. Elucidating arable systems of the selected crops in combination with regional relevant crops and crops with an ecological added-value, to enhance agrobiodiversity and to promote ecosystem services.
In relation to agronomy, according to the evidence synthesis, it is clear that the different crops have potential for diversifying cropping systems, but there’s a clear need for a better quantification of their ecosystem services delivered in e.g. intercropping systems.
Different cropping systems with various relevant crops are investigated in field trials throughout Europe. Based on these data it is clear that the explored cropping systems are able to promote ecosystem services.
5. Based on the observations and measurements carried out throughout the different growing seasons, data mining will reveal the best indicators to assess agrobiodiversity.

OA 2. Creation of new value chains.
6. Investigation of consumer behaviour towards the developed food products and/or new ingredients based on the selected crops.
A conceptual framework for the consumer survey was prepared together with the design of a data collection tool (April 2023).
7. Strengthen the producer-consumer link through regional focus group meetings addressing the potential of new food/feed/non-food products, identification of possible business models and identification of new regional value chains and marketing strategies by an in-depth market/value analysis.
First regional multi-actor discussions are prepared and the general work plan to achieve this objective has been drafted.
8. Development of new food and non-food products taking into account nutritional aspects as well as consumer demands and behaviour.
The evidence synthesis stated that most knowledge is available from feed research perspective indicating clear knowledge gaps for the further development of new food and non-food related products.
Before the development of new food and non-food products can be done, the harvested materials have to be characterised. Therefore, analytical methods have been optimized to the specific matrices. Protocols for protein isolation have been developed. Also Frankfurt and Mortadella sausages with a partial substitution of pork (50% substitution of pork protein) by a protein concentrate of faba bean. Four sweet and six salty flavoured spreads including buckwheat and a functional spread made of faba bean. Bread made of wheat and wholegrain buckwheat blend.

OA 3. Examination of the socio-economic impact and of the ecosystem services.
The two objectives (9 & 10), the exploration of the agronomic and economic viability of growing and processing the selected underutilised crops and the development of an open-source interactive toolbox with a DSS will be covered during the next reporting period.
1. New breeding tools will be available for the six underutilised crops focussing on the balance between provisioning, regulating and cultural ecosystem services. This will result in new varieties adapted for different growing conditions and cropping systems.
2. Today, different measures to evaluate cropping systems exist, lacking standards to make proper comparisons between e.g. pure and mixed cultures. CROPDIVA will create a standardised method for an unbiased evaluation of (mixed) cropping systems.
3. Integrated knowledge to successfully implement agrobiodiversity in a sustainable way resulting in more climate resilient agriculture with stabilised yield, quality and income.
4. New local protein concentrates which can serve as basis for meat replacers, new gluten free, bakery products and new healthy cereal based products are developed. High quality silages from triticale will become a true alternative for maize silages.
Throughout the production of the different food products, waste streams will be valorised by production e.g. biostimulants and fiber board packaging.
5. CROPDIVA will focus on producer-consumer links to identify new marketing opportunities.
6. The multi-actor approach will ensure that CROPDIVA’s results reach the different stakeholders and that it’s developed products will easily penetrate the market.
Lupin field
Oat panicle