REMIRucula: Resistance characterization to downy mildew in wild rocket crop



Rocket vegetable is grown mainly in Southern Europe, the Middle East and South-East Asia and is also used in Mediterranean cuisine in fresh cut and
ready-to-eat products as salads, and as food garnish. Rocket is associated with a healthy diet style, ensuring the prevention of various diseases. Baby-leaves show twice more beneficial compounds when compared with other leaf types.
The high susceptibility to downy mildew (DM) observed in the rocket varieties actually produced represents an increasing threat for wild and cultivated (Diplotaxis tenuifolia and Eruca sativa, respectively)
rocket production in different regions of the world. Rocket DM caused by the oomycete from the genus Hyaloperonospora is a severe foliar disease that drastically reduces crop quality and can make it completely unmarketable. The project concentrates specialized and complementary human resources with strong know-how available in multidisciplinary areas. The novelty of this proposal is the method
followed to identify sources of partial resistance, usually more durable and effective against different pathotypes.
Another aspect is the approach based on a multidisciplinary team to solve a problem which effectively affects farmers.
The expected results of this proposal are a better comprehension of the interaction Diplotaxis-Hyaloperonospora sp., the identification and delivery of new wild rocket varieties partial/resistant to DM,
and the improvement of production technologies currently used. The transfer of knowledge and technological innovation
to the production sector is expected to reinforce national and international competitiveness of agribusiness sector and socio-economic impacts. Besides, there will also be clear environmental advantages by reducing pesticide treatments and consumers will have access to more secure food. Food security is an important measure to cope with climatic changes and growing global food demand. This program is a unique opportunity to make a leap forward in terms of knowledge and technology development concerning DM control and to remove one of the main constraints to expansion of wild rocket production.

Principal Investigator (PI)

Maria Paula Mesquita dos Santos Coelho, Instituto Nacional de Investigação Agrária e Veterinária, I.P.

NOVA’s PI: Carla António, ITBQ NOVA
UAlg’s PI: José Leitão, University of Algarve
Type of collaboration: NOVA-UAlg