The food and pharmaceutical industry is more and more demanding homogeneous high quality raw material for a better standardization of their high quality output products. In aromatic and medicinal plants this aim could only be reached punctually (e.g. in chamomille).
Several Lamiaceae, used as aromatic and medicinal plants, contain essential oils and diterpenes with marked antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. These secondary metabolises have potential applications in a number of important areas, including food & beverages (flavorings), agriculture & horticulture (disease prevention) and pharmaceuticals & cosmetics (spoilage prevention). New applications in the nutraceutical field are now being realised for antioxidants wherein they act as protectants of key polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAS) in mammalian tissues and organs. The objective is to screen a collection of genotypes of plants grown in this project to learn about the genetic and environmental variability of secondary metabolises important for above mentioned activities.
A hybrid breeding system will improve homogeneous quality and can now be applied to marjoram (Origanum majorana L.). Genetic melioration of oregano species (Origanum sp.) and two sage species (Salvia officinalis L. and Salvia fruticosa Miller) will be performed by using a selection program of selfings of chemotypes.
Although the main cultivation areas of marjoram in Europe are located in Central Europe (Germany and France), the seed production should be transferred to and established in Mediterranean regions, where perennial production of marjoram is possible and an increase of seed production by the factor 2 to 3 compared to annual production seems likely, but is not proven yet. Marjoram is continuosly producing seeds over a long period, so optimum harvest dates have to be investigated
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
38050 Villazzano Trento
731 00 Chania
91490 Milly La Foret
KA6 5AE Ayr