What is the future of the ‘El Valenciano’ farm genotypes?

Pedro Valverde, a member of the Ucolivo group of the University of Cordoba and a researcher in the Life Resilience project, tells us what will be done with the genotypes planted in the ‘El Valenciano’ farm and where they will end.

  • One of the main objectives of Life Resilience project is to develop new olive varieties resistant to Xylella fastidiosa, how was the process in this task entrusted to the University of Córdoba?

In the Ucolivo group of the University of Córdoba we have been working on olive improvement since 1990, so we have great experience and with all the protocols of this phase very optimized. Due to this, this first part of the project has passed correctly without finding any unexpected problem.

  • At the beginning of August you have planted the second batch of genotypes at the ‘El Valenciano’ (Carmona) farm. Could you tell us, what are the next steps for these genotypes? What is an agronomic evaluation of plants?

On the 1st of August 2019, 550 new genotypes were planted from the crossings made in the spring of 2018. In total, 1050 genotypes are already in the experimental farm ‘El Valenciano’ which will be evaluated for at least 4 years. The main parameters that are being evaluated are bearing and vigor, early entry into production and fat yield. Individuals who stand out for these characteristics will be propagated and their resistance to Xylella fastidiosa will be evaluated in two ways.

The first route of resistance evaluation will be under controlled conditions in a biosafety laboratory and the second one will evaluate the resistance in a natural way by planting a test in an experimental farm in Scorrano (Italy), which is currently totally devastated by the disease.

  • A part of the project consists in measuring the resistance to disease of the prominent genotypes that you will plant in an infected plot in Lecce (southern Italy). When will they be sent to Italy and how long will this phase of the project last?

The shipment of the selected material to Italy will take place in the last phase of the project and the results will be obtained in subsequent years since this type of evaluation is slower and depends on the amount of bacteria and vector present and in general the conditions environmental.