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By  Kostas Koutis Aegilops Executive Director


In September 2016, in the town of Florina, the Greek Scientific Plant Breeding Society organized its 16th National Congress.  The title of the conference was: The contribution of plant breeding to the exit from the economic crisis
The objective of the 16th conference was to highlight the importance of plant breeding especially in the current critical economic situation and the contribution to the development of sustainable and competitive agriculture in a highly changing environment. In addition, the conference aimed to facilitate the exchange of information and knowledge on the most modern genetic improvement innovation issues in modern agriculture, protection of plant genetic resources, etc., At the conference, two written announcements (posters) were presented on behalf of AEGILOPS.
Additionally, at the round table that followed, which focused on «Survey Results and Entrepreneurship», Kostas Koutis (Dr. agronomist, AEGILOPS) gave a presentation on the role of seed savers in the conservation of agricultural biodiversity to the members of the scientific community and members of seed producers’ associations. He also stressed the importance of the contribution of the informal seed systems to the «national seed production system» and the creation of appropriate domestic varieties for low input agriculture and organic farming conditions.


The papers presented at the conference on behalf of AEGILOPS were: 1 K. Koutis, Ch. Vakali, M. Nathanailidou, K. Tsinganou, P. Tsigou, E. Psomoulia T. Kotsakou and N. Stavropoulos «In situ conservation and participatory evaluation – organic breeding of domestic agricultural biodiversity by the non-governmental organization AEGILOPS» 2 K. Koutis, Ch. Vakali, St. Hadjigeorgiou, E. Korpetis “Evaluation of local unimproved varieties of durum wheat (Triticum durum) for adaptability in organic farming conditions in Crete”


We publish the summary of this (second) work:
Summary In Crete, as throughout Greece, a number of domestic hard wheat varieties were cultivated until early after the WWII (50s), utilizing the particular soil and climatic conditions of Crete and meeting the local traditional culinary needs and habits of the island (baking bread etc.). The survey was conducted in 2015 and aimed to assess durum (Triticum durum)wheat varieties, for integrated organic and low-input farming systems producing high quality products. Seven durum wheat varieties were tested in completely randomized groups(RCBD), experimental design (four Cretan populations, the traditional variety Lapsitsa, the old variety Limnos and the commercial variety Sifnos for comparison) under organic farming conditions. Significant agronomic resilience characteristics in organic conditions were recorded and also flour quality characteristics of the final product (protein, gluten index). The results of the survey revealed that some durum wheat varieties, among all genotypes tested, showed resilience characteristics in organic farming conditions, good bakery quality and can be used either as reintroduced populations in local growing conditions or beyond that, in breeding programs to produce commercial varieties and propagating material. Particularly, the survey showed that, in general, the local Cretan populations have adaptability to organic farming and also the soil/climatic conditions of Crete. At least two of them had higher yield compared with all other varieties. The population CRETE 13 showed superiority regarding the quality of the final product (higher protein percentage and better gluten index).

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