IBBR Headquarter - Bari
The building of the IBBR/CNR headquarters in Bari
The building of the IBBR/CNR headquarters in Bari
Its establishment dates back to 29th September 1969, when the Committee for Agricultural Science discussed and approved a proposal, introduced by Prof. G.T. Scarascia Mugnozza, for the organization of a "Germplasm National Service" within the frame of analogous International initiatives which followed the recommendations of various International organisms and scientific associations. The IG began its activity in 1970 with the main mission to safeguard and preserve the plant genetic resources interesting for Italian and Mediterranean agriculture. This objective has been reached during the years through the activities of exploration, collection, multiplication, evaluation, characterization and documentation, through studies on genetic variation within species, on the evolution of plant species, on the search of new useful genes and on the physiological parameters regulating the maintenance of seed vitality. These programs are carried out through traditional (morphological, biochemical, etc.) and innovative (molecular) approaches.
In modern intensive agriculture, plant breeding, through the creation of new varieties, can thoroughly reduce the environmental impact due to the irrational use of pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, phytoregulators, etc. A necessary condition for plant breeding or for the studies of crop physiology is the availability of a wide genetic variation that can be sought in the gene-pool of the species to be improved. Since its foundation, the Institute has given a big contribution to the work of safeguard of the biodiversity with specific reference to the germplasm of cultivated plants interesting in the Mediterranean basin: cereals (wheat, oat, barley, etc.), grain legumes (faba bean, pea, bean, cowpea, chickpea, lupine, lentil, etc.), fodder legumes (vetch, French honeysuckle, etc.) and various vegetables (cabbage, eggplant, pepper, artichoke, etc.). A particular attention is being paid to specific sectors of the plant genetic resources such as local agro-ecotypes, ecotypes threatened of extinction, wild relatives of the cultivated plants, wild species used by man for several purposes, species that can be potentially exploited for the extraction of bio-active or technological products, and finally the model species. Currently the Section of Bari preserves around 80.000 samples belonging to more than 40 genera and about 600 species. Numerous accessions have been acquired through the exchange with other Institutions. Altogether from 1972 over 80.000 samples have been distributed all over the world. The results of the research activity are published on national and international journals. The activity of collection of plant species threatened by erosion or extinction is followed by studies on the evaluation and description of the collected material for important characters, on the principal and secondary centers of origin and diversification of the species, on adaptability to different agronomic conditions, population studies, studies on the hybridization, on cytogenetic and molecular variation, on the exploration strategies, on the methods of multiplication and conservation, on the methods of documentation and on the physiological processes of seeds during conservation.
All the data collected in the phases described above are filed to simplify the management of the genetic patrimony contained in the collections. Small data banks also exist on specific aspects, such as the protein quality and antinutritional factors (in wheat, bean, faba bean, lentil, cowpea), resistance to biotic stress (in wheat and faba bean), plant characters (in wheat and chickpea), rare, very rare and endemic angiosperm Italian species.
From a general point of view the results and acquired experience have allowed the Section in Bari to become a reference of excellence in the national and international scientific community in the field of the safeguard of plant biodiversity. This has favoured the start of operational contacts with several public and private subjects interested in the exploitation of plant genetic resources. Within this context, some plant new varieties have been affiliated in the national register of the varieties. For durum wheat, the variety Norba has been enrolled, whereas for the hulled wheat four lines have already been patented: Farvento, Lucanica, Triventina and Forenza. Wheat lines have been detected which contain a high level of proteins and lines characterized by protein components associated to pasta-making quality. The Institute has given a notable contribution to the exploitation of some local bean varieties from the area of Sarconi in Basilicata region and is carrying on valorization of the beans from the Aniene Valley. Different genotypes have been found with particular characteristics useful in plant breeding. Finally, from several samples distributed to researchers genes have been extracted or moved to new varieties or breeding material.
The Section of Bari possesses cold rooms for the maintenance of seeds: for long storage seeds are kept at -20°C; for short-medium term conservation, 0°C and 30% of relative humidity are used.
The Section of Bari has developed collaborations with analogous national (Faculty of Agriculture, Institutes of the CNR, MiPAF, ENEA, etc.) and international (FAO, IPGRI, IITA, ICARDA, IPK, etc.) Institutions.
The Section of Bari also helps the formation of graduate and PhD students through agreement with the University of Bari, and to Post-Docs through adequate measures