Europatat is part of an international consortium involved in the research project ADAPT (“Accelerated Development of multiple-stress tolerAnt PoTato”), which aims at developing new strategies to make potatoes fit for the challenging growth conditions of the future. The project started in July 2020 and will take place over the next three years with a total budget of 5 million Euro funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No GA 2020 862-858.
On 27-29 October, the ADAPT consortium held a meeting of all project partners to share the latest updates and to discuss the progress. The meeting was held in Brno, Czechia.
The first day started with a short meeting where project coordinator Markus Teige, University of Vienna, made an introductory presentation and welcomed all participants. On the second day, project partners presented the progress made under each working package. The ADAPT working plan is divided into six working packages (WPs) aiming at understanding of molecular adaptation to combined heat- drought- and water stress (flooding) in potato.
In the first year of trials in WP1, a set of more than 50 different varieties was tested in the field in Spain, close to Valencia and in the Netherlands in Zeeland region. The data obtained are now aligned with data from controlled glasshouse experiments obtained in WP2. Our first preliminary data indicate indeed reproducible differences, which shall now be studied in-depth for effects of tuber initiation in WP3, together with live imaging of molecular signals in WP4. Therefore, various novel reporter lines have been generated, which are currently being established in the variety Desirée, which will serve as first model for molecular responses. These studies are complemented with modelling of gene expression networks in WP5 and will be finally brought closer to the end-user in WP6 through practice-oriented validation of the results and in targeted dissemination activities. ADAPT seeks to involve end-users and has performed a survey of European potato growers to see which topics they consider as most relevant for their future business. This survey was carried out from December 2020 to April 2021 and received feedback from more than 553 replies, mostly from farmers in Austria, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Switzerland, Slovenia, Belgium, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom (more details can be found here).
The meeting was also joined by a representative from the European Commission who shared information on the legal and financial aspects of the project, and on the reporting requirements.
The final day involved a visit to the PSI Research Centre, which is a high-tech company and located in Drasov (close to Brno). PSI Research Centre is also one of the project partners, mainly involved in WP2 as an expert in phenotyping and large-scale analysis of plant physiological parameters and performances. Here, a first large pilot study with heat-, drought- and flooding-stress and combinations of these stresses was performed.
The next meeting of project partners will take place in the Netherlands at the end of May 2022.