More fruit for food security: developing climate-smart bananas for the African Great Lakes region
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Sebastien Carpentier, Mathieu Rouard, Alberto Cenci, Clara Gambart, David Eyland. (3/12/2020). More fruit for food security: developing climate-smart bananas for the African Great Lakes region. Belgium: Catholic university Leuven (KUL).
To support this research, we rely on Bioversity International’s Musa Germplasm Transit Centre (ITC), hosted at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KU Leuven) in Leuven that houses germplasm samples representing more than 1600 banana cultivars and 29 Musa wild relatives. Together they provide a substantial potential gene pool to find the existing germplasm that is better adapted to the current and future agro-environment. In Work Package (WP) 1, we have characterized the different agro-eco environments in the Great Lakes Regions, investigated the local socio-cultural preferences of male and female farmers, and determined the impact of suboptimal temperatures on the growth and development of 104 different gene bank accessions by high throughput screening in our BananaTainer. In WP2, we have investigated the impact of water deficit on a selected set of cultivars in our greenhouse phenotyping platform Phenospex and within the framework of the EU project EPPN 2020 on the European phenotyping platform Phenodyn. In WP3, we have investigated environmental impact on the yield of 3 selected cultivars in field trials located on 5 different agro-eco zones and have zoomed in on 3 crop cycles in collaboration with the National Agricultural Research Institute of Uganda (NARO). In WP4, we have characterised the chromosome structures of an important drought tolerant group, sequenced the genome of one reference ABB cultivar Cachaco, and we quantified the transcriptome and proteome of the stomata, a crucial cell structure in the leaves determining the water usage and growth. In WP5, we have shared and disseminated our knowledge by making our data available on our web platform MGIS and GIGWA and on PRIDE, by explaining our research on national television, radio and blogs, by publishing our scientific papers in peer reviewed open access journals and, by training Bachelor, Master’s, and PhD students.