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University of Córdoba
Country: Spain
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89 Projects, page 1 of 18
  • Funder: EC Project Code: 625188
  • Funder: EC Project Code: 658579
    Overall Budget: 235,675 EURFunder Contribution: 235,675 EUR

    Aflatoxins (AF), the most toxic and carcinogenic compounds among the mycotoxins, are mainly produced by the fungi Aspergillus flavus and A. parasiticus. Because these fungi are common soil residents of almond and pistachio orchards, these nuts are one of the main sources of human exposure to AF. The consumption of almond and pistachio has increased in recent years in the European Union (EU) due to their positive effects on the consumers’ health. Spain has the largest area (587.000 ha) under almond cultivation after USA and its pistachio growing-area is exponentially expanding. Contaminated batches of Spanish nuts by AFs have been frequently detected. Application of atoxigenic strains of A. flavus has successfully reduced crop AF-contamination in the USA and Africa. This biological control strategy uses endemic atoxigenic A. flavus strains, considered best adapted, to displace the AF-producing fungi. Unfortunately, EU farmers do not have the benefit of this type of biological control technology since there are not registered atoxigenic strains in this area. The aim of current project is to: i) improve substrate and application methods of atoxigenic A. flavus; ii) select new biological control agents for their patent and future registration in EU and USA; and iii) construct mechanistic models of risk for AF-contamination. The expected results will have a positive impact improving food safety and the environment and securing economic benefits to EU farmers and agri-food industries. In addition, this project supports capacity building, provides the foundation to the fellow in pursuing his independent scientific career and strengthens collaboration with research groups from EU and USA, three small-medium enterprises (SEMs), and a spin-off company.

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  • Funder: EC Project Code: 271714
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  • Funder: EC Project Code: 747363
    Overall Budget: 170,122 EURFunder Contribution: 170,122 EUR

    In less than 40 years, humanity will face the challenge of having to feed 9 billion inhabitants, which will require a 70% increase in global agricultural productivity. Currently, losses in crop yields caused by fungal diseases account for approximately $60 billion annually. Fusarium oxysporum is a devastating soil-borne pathogen that provokes vascular wilt in over a hundred field and greenhouse-grown crops both in industrialized and developing countries. Current methods of control of F. oxysporum depend on the extensive use of chemical pesticides, which is increasingly regarded as unsustainable. We propose here that the exploitation of the plant's innate immune system provides a powerful source for future Integrated Disease Management of vascular fusariosis. The resistance response that plants mount against F. oxysporum is multigenic, i.e. it involves the regulation of a network of genes that function in specific defence signalling pathways. F. oxysporum has developed sophisticated strategies to suppress the activation these defence mechanisms. Recently, the host group has demonstrated that this pathogen secretes a peptide that mimicks RALF (Rapid ALkalinization Factor), a family of plant regulatory peptides which triggers alkalinisation of the host tissue to enhance fungal colonization. It was proposed that Fusarium (F)-RALF target plant defence responses, however, the underlying mechanisms are currently unknown. ARMSRACE will investigate the mode of action of F-RALF in the manipulation of plant defence mechanisms upon infection, by genetically and biochemically dissecting the key defence pathways in the Arabidopsis-Fusarium interaction. This will reveal novel plant components and signalling modules targeted by fungal pathogens, which can be manipulated to increase resistance. The proposal addresses a crucial objective in food security, namely the sustainable control of plant diseases.

  • Funder: EC Project Code: 101108795
    Funder Contribution: 181,153 EUR

    Microplastics (MPs) are extremely persistent, ubiquitous and have the ability to adsorb/absorb chemicals from the surrounding environment. Marine organisms ingest microplastics and the chemicals are transferred through the food chain, and may potentially reach humans through the consumption of fish and shellfish. Therefore, the identification of chemicals arising from this potential human exposure source is of great interest for ensuring food safety and establishing the appropriate legislative framework. FishConPlastic proposes a simple and robust methodology, based on the combination of supramolecular solvents (SUPRASs) with liquid chromatography-high resolution mass spectrometry (LC-HRMS), that will allow to detect and identify chemicals associated with the intake of microplastics in edible marine species through suspect and non-target analysis. FishConPlastic will provide the first overview on chemical-microplastic contamination in edible marine species from the Mediterranean Sea. In a second stage, the relationship between the chemical present in marine organisms and the microplastics will be investigated. For this, the quantity, size, integrity and polymer-type of the microplastics found in the marine species analysed will be determined. Finally, all the identified chemicals will be prioritised in a list according to the level of confidence of the identification, frequency of detection, human risk exposure to chemicals and toxicity. FishConPlastic will offer to public authorities a comprehensive list of chemicals to be monitored for ensuring food safety, which is expected to have a positive impact on net fishery exports in the European Community. FishConPlastic is in line with the European Mission on healthy oceans, seas, coastal and inland waters, deepening the knowledge of the mechanisms of chemicals migration and microplastics contribution to the marine species contamination.

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