Agri-BioTechnology Projects

Rural-Urban Partnerships Motivating Regional Economies

The overall objective of RUMORE is to improve policies in the field of regional innovation strategies by facilitating rural-urban cooperation and partnerships. Huge potentials for growth and job creation remain unused, because urban – often more innovative – cores and surrounding rural parts are not well linked in terms of innovation chains, hence exhibiting a gap for joint innovation policy and effects for regional development. Clusters and regional innovation strategies are often too focused on cities, thus ignoring the stakeholders (e.g. R+D institutions, innovative enterprises) in the rural and peripheral areas who then cannot unfold their full spectrum and chances. RUMORE tackles this shortcoming in many policies and enhances the delivery of innovation in regional innovation chains via improved rural urban partnerships. The partnership consists of 8 partners from 5 countries with a mix of regional authorities, one advisory Lead Partner and a business development agency. RUMORE compiles the few approaches of how to design and set up policy instruments for integrated urban rural development in innovation policies. Good practices from the partners will be shared in an interregional learning and peer review process through Learning Events designed as living labs, and subsequently transferred and adapted to the specific contexts. The progress of improvement of each policy instrument is continuously discussed and 3 recurring working groups on overarching level produce results and added value. 4 ERDF-ROPs and 2 other policy instruments will be improved with an overall influenced amount of ca. 7,5 million Euros. The expected and envisaged results include more than 300 activities supported between innovation actors as well as a significantly raised share of innovative companies in the partner regions. In order to capture the interregional learning and capitalise on it for other European stakeholders, recommendations are derived and spread by the LP in existing networks.


Funding Body: Interreg Europe
Official project's website
https://www.interregeurope.eu/rumore/
Contact: Anagnostis Argyriou
E-mail: argiriou@certh.gr
Tel: +30 2310498475



Restoration of genetic purity and improvement of the local populations of “gigantes” and “elephants” of the area of Prespa, Florina The goal of this research project is to restore the genetic purity and breeding of two regional bean varieties , gigantes Prespon and elephantes Prespon Florinas, so that the new bean populations that will arise will have all the pure characteristics of local regional varieties with no mixtures of foreign varieties, and to be registered in the National and European Catalogue of Varieties in order to be protected in the future from the dangers of genetic mixtures or even extinction. creator and preserver of the new populations (varieties) will be rural cooperation A.S. PELEKANOS Contact Madesis Panagiotis E-mail: pmadesis@certh.gr Tel: 2311 257 531

Conventional Breeding of Virginia tobacco plants varieties. Increase in nicotine content of the Virginia variety by conventional methods, using molecular markers. The purpose of the work is to improve varieties of Virginia tobacco to increase nicotine content by classical improvement methods, assisted by molecular markers. Contact Madesis Panagiotis E-mail: pmadesis@certh.gr Tel: 2311 257 531

Characterization with advanced genomic and biochemical methods of autochthonous Sideritis species. Funding Body: MACEDONIAN THRACE BREWERY S.Á. In recent years there has been increased interest in the uses of many traditional herbs which are considered a significant source of compounds of natural origin with beneficial health effects. Similarly of great interest is the use of herbs or their ingredients in the pharmaceutical industry, cosmetics, food, beverages, etc. However, the primary plant material-herbs, and the processed product must meet strict requirements concerning their quality, safety and efficiency. Therefore it is necessary to invest in the characterization of native Sideritis populations growing in Greece, and especially the species S. scardica to fully characterize their genetic and biochemical properties contributing to their quality and and increased production but also to produce selected genetic material with superior quality and performance. Contact Argiriou Anagnostis E-mail: argiriou@certh.gr Tel: 2310 498 475

Funding Body: GENERAL SECRETARIAT FOR RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY – NATIONAL STRATEGIC REFERENCE FRAMEWORK – NSRF 2007-2013 The general objectives of the NUTRITOM project are to understand the genetic variation of the components that contribute to the chemoprotective properties (lycopene, vitamin C and arginine) of Greek tomato populations and thus exploit it to apply molecular markers to the genetic improvement of these varieties [molecular marker assisted selection (MAS)]. Contact Argiriou Anagnostis E-mail: argiriou@certh.gr Tel: 2310 498 475

Collaboration Network for the Exploitation of Biodiversity and Quality Improvement of Greek Fruit Tree Funding Body: GENERAL SECRETARIAT FOR RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY PAVET 2013 The project deals with the promotion of traditional Greek varieties of apple “Pilafa Delicius”, “Lemonata Volou” peach and “Bakirzeika” cherry with the aim of their rescue, evaluation of selected clones within the varieties, creation of high quality propagation material of the varieties, the improvement of their cultivation, conservation and processing conditions and the dissemination of these valuable varieties to other cultivation areas. Contact Argiriou Anagnostis E-mail: argiriou@certh.gr Tel: 2310 498 475

CASTOR bean (JONAH seed) cultivation in central Macedonia, Greece and industrial exploitation of its derivatives towards biofuel production Funding Body: NSRF – Greece – Israel Call for Proposals for Joint R&D Projects The main goal of the Jonah-Fuel project is to identify cultivars suitable for cultivation in central Macedonia, North Greece, and collect data to facilitate the breeding of even better cultivars. At the same time it focuses on exploita-tion of potential uses of castor oil and castor bean residuals towards fuels production via thermochemical refinery processes. In the long term this project will facilitate the development of high quality varieties for elite end products. Incorporation of these castor oil products and residuals in conventional refineries is aimed at converting this alternative renewable feedstock to biofuels. All these studies in turn, will boost local economies and fuel rural development in marginal, erosion-prone and abandoned lands of the area. Contact Hilioti Zoe E-mail: zhilioti@certh.gr Tel: 2310 498 273

Holistic approach of drought adaptation mechanisms in Lotus corniculatus natural populations for optimization of production under water stress Funding Body:Greek Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, ARHIMIDES ÉÉÉ 2012-2015, SECTORAL OPERATIONAL PROGRAMME, EDUCATION AND LIFELONG LEARNING –ESPA 2007-2013 Identification and characterization of natural populations of Lotus corniculatus species and the assessment of their genetic diversity and responses to water stress Contact Hilioti Zoe E-mail: zhilioti@certh.gr Tel: 2310 498 273

An integrated effort for the efficient production and further exploitation of the potent natural anti-inflammatory compound neorogioltriol and its congeners Funding Body: GENERAL SECRETARIAT FOR RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY – NATIONAL STRATEGIC REFERENCE FRAMEWORK – NSRF 2011 Neorogioltriol (NRG) is a brominated diterpene isolated from the endemic red alga Laurencia glandulifera. NRG is a powerful analgesic and anti-inflammatory compound, which is several hundred-fold more potent than aspirin and equally potent to morphine. However, further exploitation of NRG is hampered by low availability. Currently, there is no economically viable method for the chemical synthesis of NRG, neither a consistent natural source for the isolation of the bioactive compound. Current research aims to overcome this limitation by an integrated approach that combines systems biology, metabolic engineering, and aquaculture for the efficient production of NRG, with chemical, biological and pharmacological studies that are essential for its further exploitation. Employing a differential transcriptome analysis of Laurencia glandulifera populations that differ in their ability to produce NRG, the consortium will identify candidate genes that are involved in the biosynthesis of NRG, characterize the biosynthetic pathway, and transplant it to yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) for the production of the active compound. In parallel, partners will attempt to tackle current difficulties in the cultivation of Laurencia species, aiming to provide an alternative source of NRG through aquaculture. This approach is complemented by in vivo biological and pharmacological studies aiming to pinpoint the molecular mechanism of NRG’s anti-inflammatory action, establish efficient delivery methods, and evaluate its stability; all essential components for further industrial exploitation of this potent natural product. The combined activities of the partners constitute a comprehensive approach that can result in bringing a highly potent compound from the host organism to the bedside. Contact Makris Antonis E-mail: makris@certh.gr Tel: 2311 257 541

A systems approach into the production of plant and algal diterpenes with high industrial and pharmaceutical value Funding Body: GENERAL SECRETARIAT FOR RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY – NATIONAL STRATEGIC REFERENCE FRAMEWORK Plants produce an enormous variety of natural products, low molecular weight compounds which have been evolutionarily selected to possess biological targets and actions. This bioactivity renders them substantially rich in compounds with high industrial value and use. The recentapplication of genomic and metabolomic technologies in plants and especially aromatic and medicinal plants has ushered a new era in the utilization of natural products. The current proposal focuses on terpenes, more specifically diterpenes, compounds with characteristic structures that have repeatedly shown to possess pharmaceutical activity such as taxol, a widely used antineoplastic drug and sclareol which is utilized extensively by the food, flavor and fragrance industry. The combination of comparative metabolomic and genomic approaches will enable the exploration of unknown biosynthetic pathways for sclareol as well as for new bioactive compounds, namely Prevezol A and B produced by red algae. To this aim the full transcriptomes of the plant species Salvia sclarea (Mediterranean plant related to sage) and the red algae Laurencia obtusa will be sequenced employing the new generation sequencing technology. The genetic information will be analyzed bioinformatically. The candidate genes participating in the biosynthetic pathway will be expressed in heterologous microbial systems (E. coli, S. cerevisiae) to functionally characterize the produced diterpenes as well as in transgenic plants such as tobacco, which maximize production yields. The known plasticity of these biosynthetic enzymes will be utilized by targeted engineering approaches to modify diterpene synthases and generate new enzymes producing sclareol and other diterpene compounds. Contact Makris Antonis E-mail: makris@certh.gr Tel: 2311 257 541

Glutathione transports: molecular tools for the development of basic and applied research in the fields of green and red biotechnology Funding Body: THALES – Operational Program “EDUCATION AND LIFELONG LEARNING” Glutathione transports (GSTs, E.C. 2.5.1.18) are a superset of enzymes that catalyze the addition of the tripeptide glutathione (GSH) to a variety of electronphilic substrates. They are found as isoenzymes of different and wide selectivity and participate in the cell detoxification mechanism (prokaryotic and eukaryotic). GSTs are studied in detail as they are of considerable interest, with many applications in both agronomy and medicine (green and red biotechnology, respectively). The proposed project foresees the dynamic involvement and interaction of four specialized research teams with the aim of producing basic and applied research, utilizing as a molecular tool the catalytic diversity of the GST enzyme. The first axis of the project, that focuses on green biotechnology, will include a proteomic approach combined with functional genomic analysis of the catalytic biodiversity of GSTs isoenzymes from plants resistant to biotic and abiotic stresses. The second axis, which focuses on red biotechnology, includes the development and study of new, natural products derived from Greek biodiversity and also new, synthetic substances of peptide nature, with a potential anti-cancer drug activity. These substances will act as enzyme inhibitors of human GST isoenzymes. Contact Madesis Panagiotis E-mail: pmadesis@certh.gr Tel: 2311 257 531

Design of Catalytic Bioscavengers against Toxic Herbicides by Resurrecting Functional Ancestral Enzymes and Directed Evolution Funding Body: GENERAL SECRETARIAT FOR RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY – NATIONAL STRATEGIC REFERENCE FRAMEWORK ARISTEIA II GSTs are enzymes that take part in the cell detox phase II, catalyzing the nucleophilic attack of the sulfhydryl group of the glutathione tripeptide (GSH: ã-Glu-Cys-Gly) in the large-scale toxicating compound. The DeCatBios research team will implement a multidisciplinary approach using enzyme engineering, structural biology and biomechanics as a tool to study and produce scientific knowledge focused on the structure and function of the GSTs family,(GST, EC, 2.5..1.18). The enzymatic engineering approach will be based on two different axes: a) application of in vitro directed evolution to GSTs of the tau (t) family, using isoenzymes from different plants, and b) application of evolutionary principles aimed at the revival of functionally primitive GST enzymes (palaeontoenzymology). The knowledge produced will be applied to the redesigning and evolution of GST enzymes with new and novel properties such as: a) high activity towards electrophilic toxic compounds (eg triazines and chloracetamides), and b) development and creation of new, more stable GST enzymes with different, optimal pH of action. The new enzymes will be studied structurally by applying biophysical methods and enzymatic kinetics. The results will provide information on the genetic, structural and physiological mechanisms that have led to the evolution and adaptation of the biodegradable catalytic action of GSTs. Such GST enzymes can find application as in vitro and / or in vivo tools for the catalytic biodegradation of toxic compounds, such as pesticides, providing the industry with “green” tools beyond what could be achieved with conventional chemical technologies. Contact Madesis Panagiotis E-mail: pmadesis@certh.gr Tel: 2311 257 531

East-West Collaboration for Grapevine Diversity Exploration and Mobilization of Adaptive Traits for Breeding Funding Body: European Cooperation in the field of Scientific and Technical Research COST The grapevine genepool is particularly threatened in the marginal areas of its distribution range. At the same time, grapevine genetic resources in the presumed area of its domestication (south-eastern Europe and particularly the Caucasus) and along the migration route across Europe are poorly known while enclosing still untapped diversity and richness. To address this challenge scientists and breeders need to work together at an international level to generate knowledge about the valuable diversity, its patterns, processes and correlations with traits such as resistance and grape quality. This COST Action addresses that demand. Researchers from east and west European countries will work together to explore, on a large geographic scale and in a very wide range of countries, the genetic diversity and mobilize adaptive traits for breeding and sustainable use of this very valuable horticultural crop. Sharing experiences, responsibilities, information and materials for the development of phenotyping methods and association genetics studies in core collections will greatly improve the impact of the research conducted by each partner and will introduce innovative areas of research at the European level. The Action will, therefore, have a lasting contribution to creating beneficial knowledge, long-term conservation and a greater quality of grape production in Europe. Contact Argiriou Anagnostis E-mail: argiriou@certh.gr Tel: 2310 498 475

Animal Breeding: Quality Biodiversity Innovation Competitiveness Funding Body: ERDF INTERREG MED PROGRAM The project arises from the need to settle the preservation of the biodiversity of animals, their habitats and a sustainable agricultural production in the regions where cured meat typical products are an important tradition. QUBIC will go through all the organisational and technical aspects of the production and distribution chain, taking advantage of the existing differences in term of competences and experiences which characterise the partners. The project aims at collecting and arranging norms and experiences to establish a transfer mechanism for knowledge and expertise. The aim will be achieved by involving the institutions in charge of and interested in the project's topic, all around the MED area and organising seminars and networking meetings. Contact Argiriou Anagnostis E-mail: argiriou@certh.gr Tel: 2310 498 475

Setting up the innovation support mechanisms and increasing awareness on the potential of Food Innovation and RTD in the South- East Europe area Funding Body: ERDF – SOUTH EAST EUROPE TRANSNATIONAL COOPERATION PROGRAM Inno- Food SEE directly addresses the objectives of the SEE Programme; more specifically Priority Axis 1- Facilitation of innovation and entrepreneurship and AoI 1.3- Enhance the framework conditions and pave the way to innovation. Inno- Food SEE objectives are twofold: to set up the appropriate mechanisms that will facilitate the exchange and coordination of research, technology and innovation approaches and policies for the Food Sector and to increase the public awareness on the importance of technological progress and innovation, mainly those related to the so called -omits technologies, in the Food Sector in the wider South- East Europe area. Inno- Food SEE will achieve its twofold objectives by: Assessing the needs of the participating countries for the establishment of the appropriate mechanisms that will boost innovation in the food sector thus contributing to entrepreneurship and competitiveness; -Developing a network of stakeholders/ decision takers that will become involved in the project phases and assist in the formulation of policies and mechanisms for food innovation; Strengthening the capacity for innovation of the participating entities; -Developing Operation Plans for Food Innovation and contributing to the development of a transnational food innovation system in the SEE area; -Enabling the development of an innovative friendly environment that allows the food industry and researchers to easily become engaged in innovative activities; -Promoting the profile of the SEE countries as a place for innovation and growth, emulating the successful examples of Food Valley in the Netherlands; -Contributing to a broader understanding of the potential that food innovation proposes to the society and diminishing fears for new food products and technologies -Introducing food innovation and entrepreneurship themes in the respective university curricula -Rendering young people more familiar with science and entrepreneurial spirit and further in Website: http://www.innofoodsee.eu/ Contact Argiriou Anagnostis E-mail: argiriou@certh.gr Tel: 2310 498 475

An integrated systems approach to determine the developmental mechanisms controlling fleshy fruit quality in tomato and grapevine Funding Body: European Commission – European Cooperation in Science and Technology Because it is now well admitted that daily consumption of fruit provides important health benefits, it becomes important to decipher the mechanisms by which nutritional and sensory qualities are established during fruit development. Building on the completion of the whole genome sequence for the two major fleshy fruit species tomato and grapevine, this COST Action aims to bring together research groups working on climacteric (tomato) and non-climacteric (grape) model fruits to exchange knowledge and to harness European research in this area to the most advanced genomics and post-genomics technologies. The Action will bring new insight on the physiology and biochemistry of fleshy fruit. The training of researchers on cutting-edge methodologies and the implementation of bioinformatics tools for data integration will significantly enhance the competitiveness of European research in this field. Combining studies on the two fruit models in an unprecedented multidisciplinary approach will expand our understanding of fruit development and will provide new leads to improve fruit quality. Website: http://qualityfruit.inp-toulouse.fr/en/home.html Contact Hilioti Zoe E-mail: zhilioti@certh.gr Tel: 2310 498 273

Conservation and utilization of Sage biodiversity (Salvia sp.), aromatic and medicinal plants Funding Body: EU/GSRT/DLR SEE-ERA NET The genus Salvia has a long history of use in traditional medicine and is considered a traditional medicinal herb for numerous maladies. Salvia species are especially rich in bioactive terpenoids. Several isolated compounds from Salvia species are highly bioactive and are assessed as potential drugs (Salvinorin, tanshinone, salvicine, carnosol, salvianolic acid). Our research activities utilize current knowledge and technical expertise to ) extend the collection of representative genotypes from the species, b) to analyse the genetic and chemic diversity in there Salvia species growing in the Lower Balkan region (Salvia fruticosa, S. pomifera, S. officinalis) and c) to isolate and characterize terpene biosynthetic enzymes, and reconstitute their biosynthetic pathway in microorganisms. In the context of our research, we have isolated and characterized several new enzymes and isoenzymes producing terpenes. Gene analysis indicated the presence of highly homologous gene copies expressed only in glandular trichoms (specialized tissues producing essential oils) which give rise to a differentiating terpenoid profile. Contact Makris Antonis E-mail: makris@certh.gr Tel: 2311 257 541

Omics technologies for crop improvement, traceability, determination of authenticity, adulteration and origin in saffron Funding Body: Europe COST action Ôhe main challenge in the scope of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is the development of a sustainable economy based on High Value Agricultural Products (HVAP). Saffron is the highest priced HVAP in the world. Its prize can reach 20,000 €/kg retail. The Saffron crocus (C. sativus Linn) is a perennial, triploid and genetically sterile plant that is only vegetatively propagated via its corms which undergo a period of dormancy. This plant has been traditionally cultivated for its red stigmatic three-branch styles which not only comprise a highly desirable “golden condiment” but also, its second chemical derivatives have been used in medicine for a number of health properties. Adulteration and fraud constitute a main problem of HVAPs, including Saffron, and they must be fought with the development of technological tools based on fine chemistry, molecular biology and applied physics. Saffron is adulterated with a variety of chemical and biological substances. Mislabeling of the country of origin confuses and/or misleads Saffron consumers. Fraud is an enormous problem for the Saffron industry and could comprise its long-term viability. The loss of land surface dedicated to Saffron crop in many areas of Europe has resulted in a corresponding genetic erosion. The sterility in Saffron limits the application of conventional breeding approaches for its further improvement. These facts support the interest of biotech breeding approaches to be useful to increase the genetic variability of the crop. Hence, the creation of a germplasm bank for this species, including wild relatives to broaden the available gene pool useful for genetic improvement of the crop has been a great achievement. Since 2007, the European Commission AGRI GEN RES 018 action has permitted the creation of the World Saffron and Crocus Collection (WSCC), which contains a good representation of Saffron biodiversity (see www.crocusbank.org). There is an urgent need for collaborative research on Saffron OMICS at EU level, since Saffron is a European crop for its cultural and historical background, food-safe tendencies, and commercial quality, prestige of the European PDOs and PGIs, and leadership of the European research teams. Website: http://www.saffronomics.org/ Contact Madesis Panagiotis E-mail: pmadesis@certh.gr Tel: 2311 257 531

Computational biology and data analysis New nucleic acid sequencing technologies have changed the way data is handled. Specifically, the volume of data produced, computational power and highly specialized staff for their analysis are currently the bottleneck for those dealing with gene approaches. In order to overcome the above obstacles, the Institute of Applied Biosciences of CERTH (INAB) has already developed and develops the infrastructures and bioinformatics tools that can assist in the large-volume analysis of Big Data produced by high performance sequencing experiments. Within the context of the utilization of infrastructure and the specialized personnel of CERTH / INAB, the Institute intends to use computational biology infrastructure for the provision of services to third parties, for the analysis of biological data. Contact Argiriou Anagnostis E-mail: argiriou@certh.gr Tel: 2310 498 475

Utilization of modern techniques in the control of starch raw material and the role of starch in the production of food with improved qualitative and nutritional characteristics Funding Body: NSRF 2007-2013 The present proposal seeks to resolve a series of problems ranging from primary production to the processing of the final product for the production of gluten-free products, in particular the production of snacks and bakery products, but also the setting of scientific bases for the creation of new innovative gluten free products. The main objective is to solve the problems created in the production of gluten-free products using modern genomic technologies in combination with specialized biochemical analysis. Contact Argiriou Anagnostis E-mail: argiriou@certh.gr Tel: 2310 498 475

Agri-Genomics Transfer and Dissemination Between Greece & Bulgaria, Interreg Greece Bulgaria Funding Body: ERDF – INTERREG GREECE – BULGARIA The European Territorial Cooperation Programme “Greece-Bulgaria 2007-2013 recognises the essential role of research in the new economy, that can act as the intermediary link between entrepreneurship and the technological and scientific achievements. More opportunities for research exist in the Greek side than in the Bulgarian. Most research institutes are located in Thessaloniki. Ìoreover, research activities in diverse scientific and technological sectors are performed in Universities spread all over the CBC area. However, there is still plenty to be done in the field of research which can contribute to the development of a knowledge based economy, goal set by the Lisbon agreement. In a unified European space, benefits from scientific research, technological progress and innovation should not be restricted within the national borders. The project is the result of bringing together of various converging needs and achievements: a) INA has been active in agrobiotechnological research and has had several successes and is seeking actively to have a direct impact on industry. Such co-operation has existed for many years with Greek industries. It is now seeking to establish such connections with nearby Bulgarian industry and producers. b) IEE is a pioneer in paving the way to new forms of exhibition activity and in particular wants to enter into what is expected to be the thrust of the regional economic development: innovation and technology transfer. c) the Mountain’s Milk National Association wants to benefit from the advancements of agrobiotechnology to assist the Bulgarian milk industry meet EU standards and achieve the desired productivity for the producers of the Rodopi mountains. Contact Madesis Panagiotis E-mail: pmadesis@certh.gr Tel: 2311 257 531

Proposal for improvement of goat TSE discriminative diagnosis and susceptibility based assessment of BSE infectivity in goat milk and meat Funding Body: FP6 Specific Targeted Research and Innovation Project Sequencing of PrP coding region for 1000 goats (multiple Greek and Cypriot breeds). Full sequencing to include promoter, coding and downstream regions from 3 Greek goats. In vitro assays to assess risk of PrPsc from goat to humans. Development of biochemical methods to determine the presence or absence of prion protein contamination in goat milk, milk products (feta cheese) and meat. Provide tissue samples from scrapie-affected goats of different genotypes for biochemical assays. Assessment of techniques, i.e. rapid tests currently used with sheep, for the diagnosis of goat scrapie. Assessment of the tonsil biopsy test for ante-mortem diagnosis of scrapie in goats. Development of lectin-based assay for the discrimination of caprine BSE and scrapie.

Funding Body: Operational Programme «Competitiveness and Entrepreneurship» (OPCE ÉÉ), NSRF 2007-2013, Bilateral R & T cooperation between Greece – Slovakia 2011-2012 The climate changes that are occurring at present are very likely to have an adverse impact on food production and food quality. The diversity contained within plant genetic resources provides the variability needed for adaptation, and therefore will serve as a key element in maintaining food production under novel temperature, precipitation, and disease conditions. Nevertheless, this diversity is increasingly threatened, and there is an urgent need to collect and secure plant genetic resources for the global community. For that reason, the project aims to enhance the ex situ collections of both countries with newly acquired accessions of landraces and crop wild relatives with special emphasis to the wheat gene pool, as well as to promote knowledge on specific agronomical traits of this germplasm, in order to detect potentially exploitable genetic resources in breeding strategies for adaption to climate changes. In particular, an integrated approach for the use of genetic resources to mitigate and adapt to climate changes has been planned, including a number of collecting expeditions for the collection of plant material in both countries. Also, the ex situ conservation and the evaluation of these genetic resources under different environments is going to be held. Furthermore, the morphological and molecular characterization of the collected accessions from the wheat gene pool is going to be implemented. The acquired information will be documented in the national databases of both countries, as well as in the European Central Crop Data Base rendering these accessions available for breeding and research. Contact Madesis Panagiotis E-mail: pmadesis@certh.gr Tel: 2311 257 531

Bringing The Benefits Of Research To AgroFood SMEs of the Regions of Central Macedonia, Puglia and Pazardjik Funding Body: EU – FP7 – Coordination and Support Action (CSA) – A.C. MODEL The overarching objective of RAF- REGIONS is to increase the overall capacity of the Regions of Central Macedonia (Greece), Puglia (Italy) and Pazardjik (Bulgaria) in enhancing science and technology based economic development, focusing on the AgroFood Sector. The specific project objectives are: -To support the development and operation of innovative Research-driven Clusters in the AgroFood sector of the Regions of Central Macedonia, Puglia and Pazardjik -To enable the Regions to attract more and better RTD investments, to enhance their capacity to participate in FP7 and CIP and to mobilise national, regional and private sector financial possibilities -To promote synergies between regional and research policies at each participating Region and to produce regional research strategies for the AgroFood sector -To foster transnational cooperation in the AgroFood sector between the project partners -To assist the AgroFood sector SMEs of the participating Regions in becoming more competitive, by adopting new technologies developed through research -To facilitate the exchange of best practices between the partners and adapting them to their needs -To mentor the participating partners, through mutual exchange of experience and best practices -To cooperate with relevant projects and initiatives developed in other European Regions The project partners (Regional Authorities, SME Associations, Research Entities and Technology Consultants) already comprise regional research-driven-clusters and have the necessary experience and the institutional role to intervene and have a direct impact on research policies for the AgroFood sector. The project activities (including mapping and analysis of research actors, SME technology audits, SWOT analysis, training workshops and trips, info days, a conference, development of Joint Action Plan for AgroFood RTD, dissemination and exploitation activities) address directly the objectives of Call FP7-REGIONS-2007-1. In addition, the participation of RAF- REGIONS in the FOOD CLUSTERING Initiative will facilitate its main ambition to contribute to strengthening EU Food research driven clusters by interregional cooperation.

Prevention, Control, Treatment, Management and Risk analysis of Prion Diseases Funding Body: FP6 Network of Excellence (NoE) Our prion disease research group is currently working toward the development of early detection methods and therapeutic strategies targeting the pathogenic agents that cause Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies, such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob in human, scrapie in sheep and goats and BSE in cattle. Additionally, we are examining the possible role of glycosaminoglycans and the tPA/plasminogen system in human and animal neurodegenerative diseases. To achieve these goals, our research group maintains close contact with two veterinary laboratories and the Neurology clinics of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (A.U.Th.), and also collaborates with many major research institutes in Europe and the USA. Our research activity takes place in two equipped P2 and P3 security level laboratories that are located in the 3rd floor and the basement of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences building, in the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. We also maintain a P3 security level animal house for in vivo experiments. In collaboration with the National Organization of Medicines, we have managed to create in Greece, the first Tissue Bank with samples from both human and animals infected with TSEs. Our group is also collaborating with the Institute of Agrobiotechnology (INA) and the National Agricultural Research Foundation (N.AG.RE.F.) performing basic and applied research aimed at detecting individuals with scrapie resistant genotypes for use in a breeding program to create a scrapie resistant Greek sheep population. Finally, our prion disease research group has been charged by the Greek National Ministry of Health with the task of performing surveillance and biochemical characterization of all Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease cases in Greece

Funding Body: INTERREG IIIA/PHARE CBC

Funding Body: MARIE CURIE / HPMF-CT-2002-01918

Funding Body: MARIE CURIE / HPMF-CT-2002-01918

Legumes
Funding Body: Operational Programme Competitiveness, Entrepreneurship and Innovation 2014-2020 (EPAnEK)


Legumes4Proteins proposes, adopts and implements a holistic approach for the production of leguminous legumes in combination with their use in animal nutrition in order to replace soybeans. The project plan includes exploitation and evaluation of genetic material, collection of lupine populations and improvement of other legumes. The genetic variation of all plant materials will be evaluated with molecular markers. Additionally, through a transcriptional and metabolomic analysis, an attempt will be made to understand the mechanisms of control of the anti-nutrient elements of the varieties under examination. The nutritional value (structural carbohydrate content, digestibility and anti-nutrient content) will be assessed for all plant materials. The main expected results of the project concern the production of alternative feeds from fodder legumes produced on the basis of standard cultivation guides. The seeds for this production will be molecularly identified and the studied for their nutritional value, anti-nutritional factors and their adaptability to Greek conditions (in different environments). These results will be supported by a report on the conditions for the integrated development of the sheep industry as a result of the use of these feeds. The economic exploitation of the results will be immediate and will involve the possibility of producing feedstuff directly available to sheep farmers, but also the possibility of growing large-scale fodder legumes, as these will be accompanied by appropriate pesticides.


Contact Panagiotis Madesis E-mail: pmadesis@certh.gr Tel: 2311 257 531

Strengthening the cultivation of mastic trees through the use of innovative molecular methods


Funding Body: Operational Programme Competitiveness, Entrepreneurship and Innovation 2014-2020 (EPAnEK)


The project aims at enhancing the cultivation of mastic trees for mastic gum production with new elements using innovative molecular methods. The mastic gum is mainly harvested from male trees after mechanical wounding (“kentima”) of the bark of the trunk. Genetic identification of these mastic trees will be conducted by using the molecular markets ITS1 and ITS2, ISSR and EST-SSRs in order to select the best male and female trees. Then, the sexual propagation (seed) will be studied and also the propagation by tissue culture, using as explants young seedlings derived from seed germination in vitro. In parallel, soil-borne pathogens that affect mastic trees will be identified; tolerance of young seedlings to pathogens will be determined; and, efforts will be made to find molecular markers capable of revealing plant resistance to these soil pathogens. Since, the seed is of great interest for mass production of mastic trees (as long as they are male because they produce more and of better quality mastic gum), ways to diagnose the sex of the seedlings from the early stage of development will be investigated. Moreover, the molecular mechanism of biosynthesis and secretion of the mastic gum after mechanical wounding (“kentima”) of the mastic tree trunk will be investigated. Considering the potential therapeutic uses of various substances contained in the mastic gum, bio-markers linked to the mastic gum content for substances with antidiabetic and antibacterial activity (anti-H. pylori) will be sought. Thus, isolation and functional characterization of genes related to the biosynthesis of the bioactive molecules of the mastic gum will be performed and then an assessment will follow for the ability of using these genes as molecular markers associated with the mastic gum content in active molecules. Finally, by exploiting the findings of the project’s research, male mastic tree seedlings will be produced from seeds of the most productive clones and also crosses will be made between the selected clones to obtain F1 hybrids followed by their genetic identification in order to be used for future genetic improvement of the mastic tree. In addition, the cost of sex diagnosis and the cost of production per plant will be calculated, patents will be sought for the use of the molecular markers developed in the project and dissemination – publicity of the results of this project will be undertaken in order to promote the expansion of the cultivation in other areas of Chios, as well as in the country, with certified and productive plant propagation material.


Contact Madesis Panagiotis E-mail: pmadesis@certh.gr Tel: 2311 257 531

Promoting fruit tree cultivation through maintaining and organizing the field gene bank collection, creating parent plants for the production of certified propagating material and evaluating, exploiting and improving autochthonous cultivars.


Funding Body: Operational Programme Competitiveness, Entrepreneurship and Innovation 2014-2020 (EPAnEK) Fruit tree cultivation is of great economic importance to Greek economy and most of the fresh and processed products are exported. The “FruitTrees2Safeguard” project aims to enrich and organize the field gene bank collections, create parent plants for the production of certified propagating material and evaluate, utilize and improve local cultivars. Within the context of the project, we will explore, rescue, promote and exploit local cultivars of deciduous fruit trees, as well as enrich and organize the ex-situ field gene bank collections located at the Departments of Deciduous Fruit and Nut Trees belonging to the Institute of Plant Breeding and Genetic Resources, HAO-DEMETER. Moreover, we will also evaluate the agronomic and quality characteristics in 143 foreign and Greek cultivars of peach, nectarine, cherry, apple and pear, that are established in an experimental orchard. The ultimate objective is to isolate mutations with improved characteristics, perform phenotypic and genotypic characterization and to create parental collections for obtaining budding sticks.


Contact Panagiotis Madesis E-mail: pmadesis@certh.gr Tel: 2311 257 531

Application of modern analytical and chemometric techniques for the quality control- fraud of olive products


Funding Body: Operational Programme Competitiveness, Entrepreneurship and Innovation 2014-2020 (EPAnEK) Quality is widely recognized as one of the most critical strategies for the development and growth of each productive sector. Olive oil and edible olives are commercial products with continuously increasing demand worldwide, due to their valuable nutrients. Constant consumer demand for the production of high nutritional value products encourages practices of fraud in manufactured products which in recent years have been expanded, due to a lack of adequate quality control systems. Consequently, the quality control of edible olives and olive oil as well as the traceability of their origin are the main keys to ensuring the quality of the above products. Τhe present research project aims firstly to the traceability of Greek olive varieties, in order to certify the origin of the final products and, secondly, to the development and application of modern analytical techniques in order to ensure the quality of edible olives and the documentation of the health claim for oils that meet the criteria of the EFSA, with aim the protection of consumers from false or misleading labels in olive products and olive oil. In parallel, efforts will be made to develop certified methodologies to ensure the quality of PDO and PGI olive oil from attempts of fraud, through the traceability of Greek olive varieties and their geographical origin. The expected results of the project relate to the creation and installation of a reliable private quality assurance protocol aiming both at the quality control of olive products and in securing the consumer against fraud. Given that for the Greek economy the agri-food sector is or must be the crown of growth and productive reconstruction of our country, it is more than necessary for Greece to invest in the quality of its agricultural products.


Contact Panagiotis Madesis E-mail: pmadesis@certh.gr Tel: 2311 257 531

A Collaborative Network for the Exploitation and Clonal Selection of Greek Vine Varieties and Valorization of the Genetic Material Funding Body: Operational Programme Competitiveness, Entrepreneurship and Innovation 2014-2020 (EPAnEK) Vine (Vitis vinifera L) is one of the most widespread perennial species on the planet, cultivated in a wide range of soil types and climates. In recent years, the cultivation of winemaking varieties in Greece is in crisis despite that Greek wine has managed find a secure place in markets beyond Greece.
Part of the problem is the non-differentiation of the product mainly due to the lack of healthy propagative material and improved clones of native vitis varieties. Responding to this serious issue, the main aim of the CloSeViVa project is to create the appropriate structures for the improvement, promotion and clonal selection of Greek vitis varieties by applying, amongst others, state-of-the-art genomic methodologies to offer differentiated propagating material of high quality while also ensuring security. The CloSeViVa Consortium members have significant complementary expertise in genomic technologies, phenotyping and conservation, production of propagation material, virus control and wine production, hence creating a group with all required capacities for successfully applying the guidelines of clonal selection for Vitis.


Contact Anagnostis Argiriou E-mail: argiriou@certh.gr Tel: 2310 498 475

Evaluation – Improvement – Promotion of Important Traditional Greek Fruit Varieties Funding Body: Operational Programme Competitiveness, Entrepreneurship and Innovation 2014-2020 (EPAnEK)


Greek transitional varieties “Lemonata Volou” (peach), “Firiki Piliou” (apple), “Tragana Edessis” and “Tsolakeika” (cherries) are promoted for mass cultivation, however on rather limited evidence. The GrEatFruit program aims to address this issue through the rescue of valuable genetic recourses of these varieties, assessment of selected clones within varieties, production of high quality propagation material, improvement of growing and storage conditions and their dissemination at other growing areas. To this end, a series of actions will be implemented, including: selection of phenotypes in existing orchards; study of growing and post-harvest behavior of these varieties; estimation of genetic variability of selected genotypes and clones; production of high quality propagating material of the selected clones; development of protocols for farming techniques and post-harvest handlin; development of modern, environmentally friendly, production protocols ; dissemination of research results to farmers; market research on the acceptance of these varieties by consumers.


Contact Anagnostis Argiriou E-mail: argiriou@certh.gr Tel: 2310 498 475

Improvement of the added value and competitiveness of the Greek artisanal cheeses by exploiting the multi-omics approach and bioinformatics tools


Funding Body: Operational Programme Competitiveness, Entrepreneurship and Innovation 2014-2020 (EPAnEK)


Microorganisms and especially lactic acid bacteria play a major role in the maturation of Greek artisanal cheeses. They are the key players for the development of the organoleptic characteristics of those products such as flavor (taste and aroma) and texture. Hence, implementation and control of the cheese microbial flora during production can be exploited to develop products with special and unique features potentially destined to specific markets.


The CheeseArt project aims to determine the effect of various microorganisms in the flavor (taste and aroma) and texture of Greek artisanal cheeses intending to isolate and identify microbial strains with better technological features, to be further exploited by the food industry. The project makes use of advanced biotechnological/molecular approaches/technologies such as metagenomics, metatranscriptomics, and metametabolomics, as well as bioinformatic tools for the in-depth investigation of the strains isolated and identified. A bank of microbial strains will be created within the project with potential application as a starter or starter adjunct. Genes, metabolic pathways, and metabolic products with a potential effect on the cheese flavor development will be identified. Genome-scale Metabolic Models will be developed. The project aims to create opportunities for the food industry for the manufacture of cheeses with improved and unique features.


Contact
Anagnostis Argiriou
E-mail: argiriou@certh.gr
Tel: 2310 498 475

Development of new Greek bakery products with improved organoleptic characteristics and extended shelf-life using microorganisms with technological interest


Funding Body: Operational Programme Competitiveness, Entrepreneurship and Innovation 2014-2020 (EPAnEK)


The microbial spoilage of bakery products and the resulting problem of discarding them cause great financial losses for both the bakery industry and the consumer. The addition of sourdough during fermentation has proved to be particularly useful in improving the texture, odor, taste and nutritional value of the products. Furthermore, this approach reduces the physicochemical degradation (staling) and extends their shelf life. The use of starter culture for the preparation of sourdough, which also has antifungal properties, is a promising method for the biopreservation of the bakery products.


On these grounds, the aim of the GreenBread project is to isolate and exploit the microflora from Greek traditional sourdoughs for the production of new bakery products with improved organoleptic properties and extended shelf life. This will be achieved using innovative techniques and approaches (metagenomics, metatranscriptomics, metametabolomics and Whole Genome Sequencing) as well as computational methods (bioinformatics). The new starter or complementary cultures are expected to help in controlling a) the growth of fungi and b) the process of flavor development. Through the application of multi-omics and the study of the metabolic network of microorganisms at the genome level, it will be possible to understand the effect of microbes on the development of organoleptic characteristics and the inhibition of fungi. Thus, microbial strains with the desired technological characteristics will be selected.


Contact
Anagnostis Argiriou
E-mail: argiriou@certh.gr
Tel: 2310 498 475

Innovative Functional Foods: Development, Production, Charactirization, Properties


Funding Body: Operational Programme Competitiveness, Entrepreneurship and Innovation 2014-2020 (EPAnEK)


Probiotics are commonly defined as viable microorganisms which, when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host. Probiotics should be able to survive the acidic conditions of the upper gastro-intestinal (GI) tract, be resistant to bile salts and proliferate and colonize in the gut. A properly designed strategy for the incorporation of probiotics into foods is a key factor for maintaining high concentration, especially at the moment of consumption. Cell immobilization on prebiotic supports and the use of the immobilized cells constitutes a challenge for food industry today.
In this context, the iFUNFoods project aims at the production of innovative foods with immobilized lactic acid bacteria (LAB) cultures on natural prebiotic supports (dried nuts, cereals, fruits, etc) and study of their potential health effects on humans.


Contact
Anagnostis Argiriou
E-mail: argiriou@certh.gr
Tel: 2310 498 475

LED artificial lighting application to reduce production cost of high quality watermelon grafted seedlings


Funding Body: Operational Programme Competitiveness, Entrepreneurship and Innovation 2014-2020 (EPAnEK)


During the production process fluorescent lamps are used as artificial light source in the healing chamber, while high-pressure sodium lamps are used when necessary in the greenhouse. LED lamps have advantages over the conventional light sources used in the energetic and photosynthetic efficiency, the minimal thermal emission, as well as the greater operating life.
The LEDWAR.gr project focuses on the use of LED lamps during the production process of high quality grafted watermelon seedlings in order to achieve a reduction of the production cost through lower energy consumption, decrease in the duration of the three phases of a production cycle (seedlings to-be-grafted cultivated in a greenhouse, grafted seedlings healing in a growth chamber, grafted seedlings cultivated in a greenhouse) and increase of the successfully grafted seedlings.
For the achievement of the project’s objectives, LED lamps with different radiation spectra will be tested in all three phases of the production cycle. The study of the effect of LED lamps at the genetic level will contribute to the achievement of the abovementioned goal. Due to the great importance of propagating material for horticultural crops, a full agronomical evaluation of grafted watermelon seedlings that will be produced with the application of LED lamps will be conducted, while a quantitative and qualitative assessment of watermelon fruits will also be applied.


Contact
Anagnostis Argiriou
E-mail: argiriou@certh.gr
Tel: 2310 498 475

Exploitation of the edible algae Dictyopteris membranacea and Laurencia obtusa in the Mediterranean cuisine as a functional food and nutritional supplement


Funding Body: Operational Programme Competitiveness, Entrepreneurship and Innovation 2014-2020 (EPAnEK)


For centuries, seaweed has traditionally been used as food in the Far East. With population mobility and the internationalization of gastronomy, their use has expanded worldwide. In our country, algae have been traditionally consumed as “salads of the sea” by populations living on the coast. Evidence suggests that their consumption is linked with beneficial health effects, in addition to the special flavors they attribute to the local cuisine. However, their use has remained marginalized, as the quantities harvested by the sea are small. Many of the species of macroalgae that are edible are also used by the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industry.
The MedSUSHI project aims at further development and exploitation of two edible algae in our country, the Dictyopteris membranacea and Laurencia obtusa on the islands of the Ionian Sea. By applying uniform cross-thematic approaches, we will create innovative knowledge about their metabolism, bioactivity analysis, genetics, culture, quality analysis, standardization and product designation.


Contact
Antonios Makris
E-mail: makris@certh.gr
Tel: 2311 257 541

Exploitation of raw glycerin from the by-products of the biodiesel industry for the production of 2nd generation biofuels and protein feed additives by innovative biotechnological methods.


Funding Body: Operational Programme Competitiveness, Entrepreneurship and Innovation 2014-2020 (EPAnEK)


Raw glycerin is the most important liquid by-product/waste of biodiesel production from vegetable oils through standardized basic homogenous meta-esterification technology. The dramatic increase in world production of biodiesel, and crude glycerol produced, by more than 100% in the last 10 years (2008-2017), has resulted in a drastic drop in its price. The presence in crude glycerin of various impurities in a percentage 10-30% w/w (e.g., methanol, water, inorganic salts, fatty acids, etc.) also renders its purification for pharmaceutical or other uses (food, cosmetics, etc.) economically unattractive.


The objective of the GLYC2BIO project is to develop an economically viable process for the utilization of raw glycerin by converting it, using advanced biotechnological methods, to biolipids that can be used to produce 2nd generation biodiesel and to a proteinaceous solid residue, which can be incorporated as a feed additive of high nutritional value. The basic biological process of the method to be developed involves the use of certain strains of oleaginous yeasts that have the potential to accumulate significant amounts of the bio-lipids in their cells. In particular, strains of yeast Yarrowia lipolytica, which can aggregate up to 40% of its cell mass, are also able to grow in glycerine as a basic substrate. The yield of the production of the biolipids will be improved by using advanced techniques for controlling and changing the metabolic profile of the strains (using genetic engineering methods), and their innovative cultivation technologies in membrane bioreactors that allow the growth of microorganisms and their separation from the depleted substrate into one stage.


Contact
Antonios Makris
E-mail: makris@certh.gr
Tel: 2311 257 541

Funding Body: Trans Adriatic Pipeline TAP & Bodossaki Foundation


The THRIVING LAND project aims at supporting Education, Training and Innovation in the Agri-Food sector , implemented with funding from the Trans Adriatic Pipeline TAP (Pipeline of Good Energy) in all three Regions of Northern Greece traversed by the pipeline. The project falls under TAP’s Social and Environmental Investment (SEI) program, in collaboration with the Bodossaki Foundation. Additional implementation partners are the American Farm School (AFS) and the Institute of Applied Biosciences of the Centre for Research and Technology Hellas (INAB | CERTH).


The project unfolds at two levels: education/consulting and an agri-biotechnology. As regards the first aspect, personalised education activities are delivered by the AFS experts. These are addressed to producers, small businesses and collaborative business ventures interested in commercialising and promoting their products.


The project’s second pillar pertains to agri-biotechnological research and laboratory analysis, undertaken by the project’s scientific associates at INAB | CERTH. The process aims to Identify and quantify the specific characteristics and qualities of the selected agri-food products, in order to develop their genetic and biochemical “identity” and highlight their added value, with the goal to promote them in both local and international markets.


The aim of the partners is THRIVING LAND will act as a paradigmatic project for regional development and the promotion of the rural sector at large, with implications for the thousands of people active in this sector in Northern Greece.


Contact
Anagnostis Argiriou
E-mail: argiriou@certh.gr
Tel: 2310 498 475

Sustainable techno-economic solutions for the agricultural value chain


Funding Body: EU – HORIZON 2020 – RESEARCH AND INNOVATION ACTIONS


The 3-year large-scale project, led by the University College of Dublin, involves 25 partners from the EU, Hong Kong and Mainland China and will look for innovative technologies that will increase the sustainable use of agricultural waste (crop residues and livestock effluents), co-products and by-products.
Focus areas for this strategic orientation and their anticipated impacts are:
Improve the utilisation of existing feedstock sources from the agro-, forest-, marine, chemical and waste industry sectors, also in geographical areas with currently low bio-based activities. This includes feedstock from the paper and pulp and the food production and processing industries.
http://www.cema-agri.org/page/agrocycle-h2020-project
Our group under the CERTH umbrella, was responsible for the evaluation of the capacity of industrial yeast strains (Y. lipolytica, S. cerevisiae) and mixed communities to convert agricultural wastes into useful biomass.
We are interested to further pursue these goals by and improving Yarrowia lipolytica strains by forced evolution. The growth of Yarrowia lipolytica is particularly suited on glycerol substrate, which it consumes with great ease, while using part of it to produce triacylglycerol during lipid accumulation. The ability to adapt its growth and maximize lipid storage based on the special substrate of industrial waste of the biodiesel sector can further improve the successful biotransformation of waste.
In order to accelerate the process of adapting the organism, the forced evolution approach, through chemical mutagenesis will be pursued. In combination with the use of new genetic tools such as Next Generation Sequencing and bioinformatics of large data processing, chemical mutagenesis in a large number of cells will create a diversity of genetics that will be forced to adapt to the specialized waste substrates. Through this procedure, the most versatile organisms that store large amounts of lipids will be successively selected. Following a series of forced evolution cycles, improved organisms for molecular characterization will be selected to analyze mutations in the Yarrowia genome and changes in expressed genes


Contact
Makris Antonis
E-mail: makris@certh.gr
Tel: 2311 257 541

Applying novel biotechnological tools to utilize compounds isolated from the red algae S. coronopifolius as eco-friendly Antifouling Agents


Funding Body: ERA-Net COFASP


Biofouling is the undesirable growth of living organisms (bacteria, algae, mollusks, etc) on structures submerged in water which causes serious problems for the aquaculture and maritime industries. A number of physical and chemical technologies have been applied in antifouling (AF) paints, the most effective of them being the use of tributyltin oxide (TBTO) coatings. However, due to toxicity caused by TBTO and heavy metals, in September 2008, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) banned the use of self-polishing TBTO coatings, while there is increasing opposition to the use of copper. Preventing the settlement of fouling organisms in a non-toxic manner would be the ideal solution. To this end, there has been a multitude of physical, chemical and biomimetic approaches. Likely, a successful method for prevention of antifouling will need to combine all approaches. Over the past few years several marine metabolites were characterized for their eco-friendly antifouling potential. Among them, the halogenated diterpene bromosphaerol, isolated by our group from the red alga Sphaerococcus coronopifolius, has exhibited strong inhibition of barnacles’ settlement. Currently, the major hurdle of the use of marine metabolites is the limited available quantities.
To address this limitation, our consortium will approach bromosphaerol biosynthesis in an interdisciplinary manner utilizing all available new tools in biotechnology, genomics, bioinformatics, biochemical and chemical analysis and in-vivo assays. In preliminary work, we have applied Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) to identify several thousand of expressed genes from S. coronopifolius, including candidate terpenoid biosynthetic genes. In the current project we will expand the NGS approach in additional fresh material, analyze bioinformatically the expressed genes to quantify expression levels, isolate candidate biosynthetic genes, perform enzymatic analysis and metabolic modeling and flux analysis, reconstitute the biosynthetic pathway in heterologous species, refine the chemical analysis tools to identify compounds from tiny amounts of algal material and evaluate its settlement inhibitory activity on other fouling organisms besides barnacles.
Partners:
INAB-CERTH: Antonios M. Makris, A. Argiriou, V. Roussis (EKPA), E. Ioannou (EKPA), S. Orfanidis (INALE)
University of Iceland: Steinn Gu?mundsson
Universite de Bretagne Occidentale: Claire Hellio
Ege University Fisheries Faculty Aquaculture: Gamze Turan
University of Copenhagen: Sotirios Kampranis


Contact
Makris Antonis
E-mail: makris@certh.gr
Tel: 2311 257 541

Data-Driven Bioeconomy


Funding Body: EU – HORIZON 2020 – INNOVATION ACTIONS (IA)


The data intensive target sector selected for the DataBio project is the Data-Driven Bioeconomy, focusing in production of best possible raw materials from agriculture, forestry and fishery/aquaculture for the bioeconomy industry to produce food, energy and biomaterials taking into account also various responsibility and sustainability issues. DataBio proposes to deploy a state of the art, big data platform “on top of the existing partners’ infrastructure and solutions – the Big DATABIO Platform.The work will be continuous cooperation of experts from end user and technology provider companies, from bioeconomy and technology research institutes, and of other partners. In the pilots also associated partners and other stakeholders will be actively involved. The selected pilots and concepts will be transformed to pilot implementations utilizing co-innovative methods and tools where the bioeconomy sector end user experts and other stakeholders will give input to the user and sector domain understanding for the requirements specifications for ICT, Big Data and Earth Observation experts and for other solution providers in the consortium. Based on the preparation and requirement specifications work the pilots are implemented utilizing and selecting the best suitable market ready or almost market ready Big Data and Earth Observation methods, technologies, tools and services to be integrated to the common Big DATABIO Platform. During the pilots the close cooperation continues and feedback from the bioeconomy sector user companies will be utilized in the technical and methodological upgrades to pilot implementations. Based on the pilot results and the new solutions also new business opportunities are expected. In addition during the pilots the end user utilizers are participating trainings to learn how to use the solutions and developers also outside the consortium will be activated in the Hackathons to design and develop new tools, services and application for the platform.


Contact
Argiriou Anagnostis
E-mail: argiriou@certh.gr
Tel: 2310 498 475

Partneship for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area


Funding Body: EU – HORIZON 2020 – COORDINATION AND SUPPORT ACTIONS (CSA)


The overall objective of the 4PRIMA Coordination and Support Action (CSA) is to create the bases and support for long-term, well-structured and integrated partnership for research and innovation on food systems and water resources, between the countries of both shores of the Mediterranean basin. Rapid demographic, socio-economic, and climate changes are threatening the sustainable development of the Mediterranean region, where agriculture has to cope with increased demand for food production in a scenario of water scarcity and increasing competition for water use between different sectors. Therefore, policy makers and businesses are required to rapidly respond to the demand for innovation. In addition, the capacity of Mediterranean societies to adapt and effectively react to these changes depends on the overall response of integration that the Euro-Mediterranean region is able to implement.


Contact
Argiriou Anagnostis
E-mail: argiriou@certh.gr
Tel: 2310 498 475

Convectional breeding of east type tobacco varieties


Contact
Madesis Panagiotis
E-mail: pmadesis@certh.gr
Tel: 2311 257 531

Conservation and Sustainable Capitalization of biodiversity in forested areas


Funding Body: ERDF INTERREG BALKAN – MEDITERRANEAN


The Balkan region is a cradle of very rich biodiversity both in terms of flora and fauna. One of the main environmental challenges is the loss of biodiversity which takes place in all Balkans countries and around them. Balkan forests maintain countless possibilities for the development of high value products, since forest nature can valued as capital i.e. as a source of reproduction of ecological services, and as a source of knowledge. Natural forests and Protected areas (PAs) can provide significant recreational opportunities and contribute to sustainable growth and employment. According to the European Parliamentary Research Service (2015), large remaining knowledge gaps about biodiversity mean public authorities and businesses may not have the full picture when taking decisions, especially as regards social, economic and environmental benefits and costs. For this reason economic valuation is one of the main priorities of EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 (Act. 5) that stresses the importance of mapping ecosystems and their services, assessing the economic value of such services, and promote the integration of these values into accounting and reporting systems at EU and national level by 2020.
Goal of BIOPROSPECT project is to explore and document the economic value of forested areas and the ways of sustainable capitalization as a mean for their wise management and conservation. The specific objectives are:
-To provide operational tools for the conservation of forest biodiversity through economic valuation and sustainable capitalization
-To demonstrate the operational application forest economic valuation and capitalization benefits
-To integrate economic valuation in operational management of forested areas and policy initiatives of Balkan Mediterranean area
In order to achieve the objectives the project will:
-Provide operational models and guidelines for the economic valuation and sustainable capitalization of biodiversity-ecosystem services in agriculture, industry, water resources management, education, recreation and social inclusion;
-Map the cross-border genetic pool and bioprospect of forested areas
-Demonstrate solution for sustainable capitalization of biodiversity in natural forests and protected areas,
-Establish a knowledge exchange network and a one-stop-shop for the economic valuation and sustainable capitalization of forest biodiversity
-Mainstream biodiversity valuation and bioeconomy in regional and rural development strategies and policies.
Through the project policy makers and forest managers will gain skills in addressing forest biodiversity evaluation and management challenges while the programme area will benefit from sustainable practices and policies that promote implementation of EU Forest and EU Biodiversity Strategies for 2020


Contact
Madesis Panagiotis
E-mail: pmadesis@certh.gr
Tel: 2311 257 531

Funding Body: Funding Body: ERDF INTERREG GREECE – CYPRUS


Local products contribute to the adoption of the ‘identity’ of a region, creating links between the products, characteristics and culture of the production area, thereby highlighting the local ‘agri-food’ heritage. That is particularly important for the geographical areas of North Aegean and Cyprus.
In recent years there has been a shift of consumers towards local – traditional products with unique and distinctive quality characteristics. The increase in demand for such products is an economic opportunity for regions capable of diversifying their products appropriately by exploiting the endogenous potential of their area for their production and promotion. However, this consumer's interest is often exploited, as products that are not in reality local nor traditional, are appearing as such on the market. Scientific evidence of the authenticity of local products in relation to the characteristics and the production area, both for certified (PDO, PGI, TSG, OPAP) and non-certified products, is a direct priority of the cross-border area as it can be a key leverage for the agri-food sector growth.
The objective of the AGRO-IDENTITY project is to strengthen the competitiveness of agri-food enterprises by identifying the authenticity of local traditional products in the cross-border area and building mechanisms to strengthen rural entrepreneurship for their commercial exploitation in domestic and international markets.
The innovative approach of the project is based on the combined use of:
a) Genetic identity,
b) Isotopic footprint, and
c) Microbial profile, which makes it possible to identify authenticity in relation to the characteristics of the products, their means of production and their origins (botanical & geographical). In particular, within the framework of the AGRO-IDENTITY project, there will be realized:
-Mapping the characteristics of authenticity of local products, including local varieties, dairy products, wine and oils
-Development of standard procedures and structures for the provision of a label of authenticated identity and digital identity; and
-Development of business skills and supporting business in identifying, promoting, marketing and selling local products.
By combining institutional and research institutions with business needs, the project will contribute and help local products from the Northern Aegean area and Cyprus to acquire an authentication and an internationally recognizable brand-name, reinforcing the competitiveness of the enterprises involved in the production, processing and marketing of authentic local products in domestic and international markets.


Contact
Madesis Panagiotis
E-mail: pmadesis@certh.gr
Tel: 2311 257 531

Molecular Identification of Plants


Funding Body: Marie Curie ITN


Many of the nearly 400,000 species of plants provide food, feed, medicines, and construction materials. Besides these positive impacts, plants also affect us negatively through pollen allergies, poisonous species, as invasive species, and as adulterants in herbal medicines. Nevertheless, plants are the most promising biological resource for our future. Current extinction risks of global flora and vast decline in taxonomic expertise demand accurate and rapid identification approaches to understand and valorise botanical biodiversity. Advances in genomic data and DNA sequencing are revolutionizing plant systematics, and modern molecular identification methods make it possible to accurately determine plants in ways that were technically impossible only a decade ago. Recently, it has become possible to detect substitution in herbal pharmaceuticals, monitor invasive alien species, trace fragments such as pollen and spores, uncover illegal trade in endangered species, make rapid and accurate molecular biodiversity assessments, and study historical plant diversity through DNA in museum specimens. However, to efficiently harvest the potential of the opportunities provided by the new genomic techniques, society today is in urgent need of trained biosystematists experienced in both taxonomy and in handling enormous amounts of genomic data. Plant.ID will innovatively address these challenges by bringing together academic and non-academic partners including regulatory agencies, industry, SMEs and NGO stakeholders, with the aim of developing molecular identification of plants through tailored approaches to species delimitation, metabarcoding, gene capture, and genomic barcoding, in order to empower stakeholders with simplified molecular identification of plants. By bridging classical taxonomic expertise with cutting-edge genomic approaches, Plant.ID will train a new generation of ESRs who will have immediate relevance to harnessing the central role of plants in the modern world.


Contact
Madesis Panagiotis
E-mail: pmadesis@certh.gr
Tel: 2311 257 531

Development of microalgae-based natural UV Sunscreens and Proteins as cosmeceuticals and nutraceuticals


Funding Body: Marie Curie RISE


The biotechnology of microalgae has gained considerable importance in recent decades, as they represent a largely untapped reservoir of novel and valuable bioactive compounds. The biological and chemical diversity of the microalgae, has been the source of unique bioactive molecules with the potential for industrial development as pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, nutritional supplements. The proposed project will combine both basic and applied research in the fields of omics technologies, biochemistry, applied and enzyme biotechnology in order to exploit microalgae resources for the development: 1) Natural UV sunscreens, based on algae mycosporine-like aminoacids, 2) Algae-based nutraceuticals as functional foods and food supplements, 3) Algae-derived proteases with applications in cosmetic (skin repair enzymes) and food industry. The implementation of the project will offer to the involved academic and SMSs the opportunity to translate scientific research into well defined knowledge-based green products and analytical tools. Apart from scientific objectives, the project will enhance the European's capacity in the field of Blue Growth and Marine Biotechnology by exchanging interdisciplinary knowledge, developing and disseminating joint research activities, thus strengthening the intersectoral links between academia and industry for sustainable growth.


Contact
Madesis Panagiotis
E-mail: pmadesis@certh.gr
Tel: 2311 257 531