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New production system based in tissue culture to increase european pistachio market competitiveness

The consortium will merchandise a set of pistachio varieties adapted to the mediterranean climate and with a high uniformity thanks to its production under in-virtro conditions. The companies involved will develop a specific protocol for pistacia genus under in-vitro conditions.

There is a growing commercial interest in pistachio at an international level, mainly for direct consumption, or as an ingredient for the agro-food industry, but also for other uses like cosmetics. The annual commercial production exceeds 600,000 tons and does not supply all markets equally (aggregated worldwide domestic consumption only is estimated at about 550,000 tons). In this context, it is forecasted that European Mediterranean countries like Spain, Italy, Portugal, Turkey or Greece could play a relevant role as producers. This provides good opportunities for growers who can offer a high product quality and are flexible in responding to market requests. The special characteristics make the pistachio tree, a competitive option for a sustainable cultivation with environmentally respectful production methods The biggest obstacle for expanding pistachio cultivation in Europe, is based on the absence of plant material which meets the requirements of the European-Mediterranean Agricultural characteristics. Commercial varieties (selected male and female cultivars of Pistacia vera) are obtained by vegetative propagation and because their cuttings do not root, a rootstock is needed. The recommended rootstock for Mediterranean Agriculture, Pistacia terebinthus, presents actually not only a lack of vigour and homogeneity but also a low germination rate (about 20 - 30% of seeds) which makes the start of cultivation more expensive and complicated. Furthermore, the grafting of the variety is traditionally performed in the field, when the rootstock has the size to match with the bud of the grafted variety. These technical difficulties prevent many potential new pistachio farmers from making the investment. In this context Semillero Laimund S.L. pretends to improve the protocol for obtaining the multiplication of Pistacia under in vitro conditions. The main efforts are going to be in the multiplication acceleration and accomplishment of the up-scaling to a cost-efficient level, consisting in evaluating the utility of bioreactors for the planned purpose. These systems are based on the temporary immersion with a liquid nutritive solution and permitted the automated handling of an increased plant number using the same space as the cultivation on gelified culture medium. In the production chain of pistachio, the rooting of the plants is another bottelneck. LAIMUND will test different supports for liquid medium under in vitro conditions. In parallel, PLANTALGARVE will describe an efficient acclimatization process. LAIMUND will send the plants to Portugal, and both companies will make experiments at the same time. They will put together the results and decide the best option for a correct acclimatization of the new experimental plants obtained in vitro. In order to have the own mother stock, LAIMUND will plant an orchad with the collection of the best seller varieties of Pistacia Vera and perhaps different rootstock for different countries, including Pistacia terebinthus. PLANTALGARVE will also participate in the selection of the Pistacia species and varieties. When LAIMUND accomplish with PLANTALGARVE the acclimatization step, will dedicate the efforts in the development of a new graft type, with varieties and rootstock produced under in vitro conditions. The idea is to use the company´s experience to try to make the graft similar to horticultural plants. The general objective of the global international project EUROPISTACIA, carried out by the Consortium PLANTALGARVE-LAIMUND, consists on obtaining a high quality homogenous plant of Pistacia terebinthus on which a premature grafting can be carried out with the different varieties of Pistacia Vera with european commercial interest; producing the plant material under in vitro culture conditions in both cases. This new production system, will increase the profitability of the companies involved, with a new business line of Pistachio plants, which will be obtained in a faster way and will allow the farmers / investors a faster entry into production of their new crop, with greater porcetange of production and ensuring the profitability of the investment. LAIMUND plans to create direct employment associated with the Project, with hiring two new non-graduates. Additionaly, there will be an induced employment creation, after the completion of the Project, in the period 2019-2023 with: 20 new jobs; Of which 12 belong to LAIMUND and 8 to PLANTALGARVE. The EUROPISTACIA Consortium incorporates a research staff composed of 10 women (59% of the ovaerall) and 7 men. As a whole the total private investment mobilized by the EUROPISTACIA Consortium, during the period 2017-2023 - covering the experimental, launching phase and establishment of the new line business - will be 1,673,121.81 €. This estimated investment does not include the associated expenses of the company's personnel, as well as the general expenses associated with the production activity.
Acronym: 
EUROPISTACIA
Project ID: 
11 751
Start date: 
08-06-2017
Project Duration: 
24months
Project costs: 
570 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Plant selection/production technology
Market Area: 
Viticulture and Fruit Tree Cultivation

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.