Research

Itaka invests in a range of research and development activities, including funding basic research on naturally occurring extracts and bioactive ingredients. Itaka is continually improving and expanding its product portfolio and is involved in formulation studies to screen the best candidates and optimise formulations to provide growers with innovative products that exceed expectations.

Itaka also supports a number of large-scale collaborative projects. These include:

SolACE

The goal of SolACE – Solutions for improving Agro-ecosystem and Crop Efficiency for water and nutrient use – is to help European agriculture respond effectively to major challenges. In particular, this includes increased rainfall variability and the need to reduce the use of N and P fertilizers for both economic and ecological purposes.

SolACE aims to improve water and nutrient use efficiency through the design of solutions (strategies and tools) that combine novel crop genotypes and agro-ecosystem management innovations. It will look at a range of agricultural contexts across a range of soil microclimates in different European regions and farming systems.

The SolACE project has 25 partners in 14 countries and is funded under the European Union’s research and innovation programme Horizon 2020.

More information:solace-eu.net

LIVESEED

The objective of LIVESEED is to encourage greater use of organic seed by improving transparency and competitiveness within the organic seed and breeding sector.

Research activities of LIVESEED will cover five main crop categories (legumes, vegetables, fruit trees, cereals and fodder crops) and will consider different farming systems and soil zones across Europe

Aims include:

  • Develop guidelines for organic cultivar testing and registration
  • Develop innovative breeding approaches suited to organic farming
  • Widen the choice of organic cultivars meeting the demand of farmers, processors, retailers and consumers

More information: liveseed.eu

BRESOV– broccoli, snap bean and tomato

BRESOV – “Breeding for Resilient, Efficient and Sustainable Organic Vegetable Production” – aims to improve the performance of three economically significant important vegetable crops: broccoli, snap bean and tomato.

The project is exploring the genetic diversity of botanical families (Brassicaceae, Fabaceae, Solanaceae) to increase the plants’ tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses and to produce varieties that are adapted to meet the specific requirements of organic and low-input production processes.

The group will use the latest techniques to explore the natural diversity within each crop and then use this to expand the breeding base to select and improve resilience traits in organic farming systems.

The new breeding lines will be tested for efficiency under adverse temperature, water, and nitrogen stresses as well as for resistance to pests and diseases. In addition, desirable traits such as taste, visual appearance and post-harvest performance will be assessed.

More information: euroseeds.eu/optimising-vegetable-crops-organic-farming