MiDiVine - Innovative Approaches Promoting Functional Microbial Diversity for a Sustainable Grapevine Health and Productivity in Vineyard Systems of Mediterranean Areas

About Us

MiDiVine project aimed at developing knowledge, tools and integrated approaches based on grapevine genetic resources and agricultural practices promoting functional microbial diversity (FMD) to better improve grapevine production and resistance against the main foliar and trunk diseases (grey mold, downy mildew and esca) under drought stress conditions. The project will focus on the characterization of FMD and the identification of beneficial microbes from traditional cultivated/elite with different practices and indigenous vines for improving grapevine health and productivity in open vineyards under water shortage conditions. MiDiVine project will analyse the impact of plant genotype, soil type and agricultural practices, including the use of covers and service plants, on FMD and beneficial microbes against diseases under stress conditions. In addition, the environmental footprint for each of the proposed practices will be determined (e.g. C sequestration due to cover crops and reduced tillage). The proposal will therefore provide innovative and sustainable solution to improve agroecosystem services by managing soil microbiome and intercropping in Mediterranean countries in order to reduce dependency on agro-chemical pesticides in vineyards.

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Period of Implementations

Jun 1, 2021 - May 31, 2024

Total Budget

EUR 819.714,04

OUR IMPACT

Goals

The general goal of the proposal is to achieve an economically and environmentally sustainable viticulture under agro-ecological conditions in Mediterranean regions by combining optimal use efficiency of genetic resources, increased functional microbial biodiversity with adapted practices (including covers and service plants), optimisation of water use efficiency, lower chemical inputs, and production stability. These can collectively sustain grapevine resilience and profitability which also are pivotal for healthy food and job security.

Objectives

• Valorization of local/elite grapevine genotypes and indigenous varieties to characterize FMD to increase sustainability and resilience of farming systems, particularly regarding the environmental and social dimensions. • Evaluation of agricultural practices such as soil management, fertilization, covers, and service plants along with adaptation of grape varieties on microbial diversity as related to disease resistance. • Monitoring the degree of biotic and abiotic stress in plants treated with most effective microbial consortia on plant adaptive and immune responses against drought stress and damaging pathogens. • Understanding the genetic and physiological bases of grapevine adaptation to abiotic stress and resistance to pathogenic oomycete and fungi and development of new protection strategies through multi-factorial approaches, based mainly on the promotion of beneficial microbes. • Introduction of selected microbial consortia and management of FMD in vineyard systems as an innovative strategy for restoring soil functionality, avoiding water scarcity, ensuring sustainable grapevine protection against diseases, and thus improving profitability. • Determination of the environmental footprint (e.g. GHG emissions, water footprint, energy intensity, ecotoxicity) for the management practices tested, using the UE environmental footprints methodology. • Dissemination of practical experiences and animation of local actors within Mediterranean regions with local cultural practices in which the actors will develop, test and validate the new tools and strategies integrating FMD for effective resilience to drought as well as integrated disease management in new farming systems.

Impact Pathway

MiDiVine project will provide advanced knowledge by improving biodiversity in vineyards, reducing imputs and environmental impacts whilst increasing environmental quality in agrosystem, grapevine resilience to climate change and diseases in a sustainable way and taking into account Regional specificities. By combining selection process, genomics approaches, microbial diversity, agronomic practices with specific covers and service plants, precision viticulture tools, physio-molecular analysis, biocontrol strategy and disease management, MiDiVine expects to generate the following impacts: • Improving research and innovation potential within Mediterranean regions and worldwide - The potential contribution of MiDiVine to the improvement of the R&D potential within Mediterranean areas and/or worldwide is anticipated to be at both national and international levels. The interaction between academic and private partners from different countries although with different goals has a common theme. The project is in line with the European objectives for research on vine and grape in HORIZON 2020 Program, it has a strong accent on multidisciplinary, on the development of innovating tool/equipment and on translation research results into applications. • Increasing the scientific level - Understanding the genetic, physiological and molecular bases of grapevine adaptation to abiotic stress and resistance to fungal diseases and develop new protection strategies through multi-factorial approaches, based mainly on use and management of functional microbial biodiversity. • - Understanding the relationship between the acquisition of tolerance/resistance triggered by functional microbiome and the expression of plant immunity under fluctuating environmental conditions. - Training, co-supervision and mobility events (horizontal actions) improving the expertise of involved personnel and annual meetings. The projected outcomes will provide a paradigm for various stress scenarios determination, identification of beneficial microbes and pathogens and verification of microbe-free material. This paradigm can be easily extended to other plant species/conditions providing a general platform for direct exploitation by various research actors. I• mproving vineyard management and practices - Integrating functional microbial biodiversity into technical itineraries of farming systems of different geographical locations involved in grape production in Mediterranean countries. This will provide a good source for adaptation of grape cultivars and management practices to changing climate. - Strengthening the sustainability of production systems through reduction of chemical inputs, while minimizing environmental impact, improving water use efficiency and preserving biodiversity. - Adaptation of biocontrol strategies to different terroir of Mediterranean environment and improving management of typical products and rural development. - Access to novel biological material to be screened for possible adaptations and identification of tolerant ones and the responsible genes/mechanisms in future studies (either from nurseries or from academic participants with field access-mostly academic participants) - Transfer of knowledge and tools (new protocols for defining threats to plant’s health and monitoring early stress responses, diagnostic methods, etc) among partners. • Expected impacts at the socio-economic level - The achievement of an economically and environmentally sustainable agroecosystem should combine optimal use efficiency of natural resources, lower external inputs, increased biodiversity and production stability that collectively sustain crop resilience, crop profitability and optimisation of water use efficiency under climate change, all would result in reduction of grape production costs. - Improving product quality, food security, transition to a biobased economy, knowledge to support for decision making process and increase of competitiveness through innovations are also pivotal for progress in societal challenges in terms of future food and job security. - It is anticipated that private Company and farmers will directly benefit from the activities of MiDiVine. More specifically, protocols for early monitoring and defining threats to plant’s health (early symptoms, identification of novel strains or even species) are of immediate and high interest to partners and nurseries. - In addition, there are planned, direct collaborations between partners with the aim of producing beneficial microbes from selected functional diversity that will be commercialized and thus reach end-users. The development of these beneficial microbes will rely on relevant patents on this technology. Besides, climate change repercussions on viticulture are being markedly sensed due to soil salinization, water shortage and increased temperatures which affect growth, development, and yield of grapevine as well as grape organoleptic and aromatic quality.

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