iSTONE-HUB


iSTONE-HUB: AN INTERNATIONAL HUB FOR THE CONSERVATION AND VALORISATION OF PEACH AND OTHER STONE FRUITS

PeachRefpop and the reference collections for varietal evolution
Currently, peach and other stone fruits (apricot, cherry and plum) are facing major challenges, including:
• increased competitiveness
• sustainability of cultivation methods
• adaptability to climate changes and variable cultivation environments
• resistance to pest and diseases
• improvement of fruit quality
The progressive genetic erosion characterizing the modern varietal landscape is depleting biodiversity of peach and other stone fruit species. ‘Reference’ collections (also known as ‘core collections’) have the function of preserving genetic diversity, a fundamental resource for facing the new challenges of the agricultural sector. Starting from the European project FruitBreedomics, the idea of a European network for the preservation of peach was conceived, then implemented with the creation of a reference collection (named PeachRefPop) based on data for over 3000 varieties from repositories of different countries.

The PeachRefPop, consisting of over 400 varieties embracing most of the worldwide peach diversity, was propagated under the supervision of the University of Milan (Italy, where since 2009 is active a branch of the Confucius Institute, in cooperation with the Liaoning Normal University) and the Research Center for Plant Production (CRPV, Cesena, Italy) and distributed to five institutions in Italy, Spain and Greece.

a millennial East-West bridge: the ‘’silk road’’…
The PeachRefPop is a shared transnational legacy of strategic interest for agriculture, science and culture. The creation of this collection is configuring as the first milestone of an ambitious international project for the preservation the species. Moreover, it represents an unprecedented opportunity to build a bridge between its place of origin (China, the country that more than any other embodies the intertwining of botanical diversity, history, art and tradition), and Italy, the cradle of the modern fruit trees orchards.
The University of Milan actively collaborates through specific agreements with two major Chinese academies of Agricultural Sciences, the Jiangsu Academy and the Liaoning, and with the Facultad de Ciencias Agronomicas (Chile).

Aims of the project
iSTONE-HUB aims at the establishment of an international network for the preservation, exploitation and valorization of peach and other stone fruits (apricot, cherry and plum) based in Imola (Emilia-Romagna, Italy), at the ‘Brusca’ Experimental Station, where the PeachRefPop is already located as a ‘living’ collection, together with some facilities potentially able to host a museum and laboratories. The project will embrace a vast range of potential users, ranging from researchers to agricultural sector experts and stakeholders, from students to ordinary citizens.

Sponsored by: scientific academies, cultural and environmental associations, schools, public institutions (ministries, research institutions and universities, local institutions, etc.), and stakeholders in the agricultural sector.

For more details
Daniele Bassi, e-mail: daniele.bassi@unimi.it
Stefano Foschi, e-mail: sfoschi@crpv.it
Laura Rossini, e-mail: laura.rossini@unimi.it
e-mail: info.confucio@unimi.it