The main objectives of FYSAME are as follows :
* To select chickpea (Cicer arietinum) and common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris), and their adapted specific Rhizobia, for symbiotic nitrogen fixation (SNF) tolerance to NaCl salinity.
* To assess the yield of selected symbioses through multilocal field trials in saline soils or soils irrigated with saline water in North Africa and South Europe.
* To progress in understanding biochemical mechanisms involved in SNF tolerance to salinity.
Overall, the work carried by FYSAME should strengthen the links between basic investigations in SNF and finalized agronomic research to improve nitrogen fixation and yield of legumes in adverse edapho-climatic conditions. It is expected in this project that an improvement of grain-legume SNF in saline zones, in combination with improved technical practices, will contribute to increase the mean yield of grain-legumes to 1t/ha from actually 0.7 t/ha, the latter being mostly due to low level and instability of legume yields in marginal lands. The subsequent increase in competitivity of legume crops will benefit their role in rotations with other crops for sustainable agriculture and satisfaction of national demand, so far dependent on large imports in Europe and Maghreb. This may also contribute to stabilize farmers in marginal Mediterranean zones.
FYSAME relies on a multidisciplinary approach of agronomists, microbiologists, plant breeders, physiologists and molecular biologists with the following tasks :
* At the agronomic level, to survey saline zones for prospection of cultivars and Rhizobium strains, and to assess selected symbioses through multilocal-pluriannual field trials.
* At the biodiversity level, to screen macro-symbionts for SNF tolerance to salinity, and for intraspecificity with micro-symbionts, through cross inoculation trials with and without salinity.
* At the physiological level, to define optimal procedures for the above screenings, and to investigate cellular and molecular SNF mechanisms associated with salt tolerance.
* At the genetic level, to utilize molecular biology tools to characterize the genetic diversity of microsymbionts, and tag the genetic determinants of macrosymbiont's SNF tolerance to salinity.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts