Fruit Science/ PostHarvest Group have a number of ongoing projects, as well as funded and a big number of accomplished projects.

CA21142: ‘Water deficit and decision support Systems applications [October 22 – September 26].

Due to climate change water scarcity and increased evapotranspiration requirements are serious challenges for agriculture worldwide and are jeopardizing the future supply of many crop productions. As perennials, fruit tree crops are particularly threatened by this risk and growers need rational strategies to improve their orchards water use efficiency. This Action aims at understanding the physiological behaviour of fruit tree crops in response to drought stress, in different environments, and identifying the best tools to monitor plant water status in real time while allowing growers to precisely schedule irrigation through the adoption of new technologies. Activities will focus on 1) identifying the most useful physiological parameters to quantify drought stress using cost-effective and user-friendly sensor tools; 2) comparing and assessing the performance of existing models to quantify plant water needs under drought, for possible implementation in decision support systems (DSSs); 3) defining the most effective (deficit) irrigation strategies for different crops and environments and 4) identifying gaps for improving existing DSSs based on the knowledge generated by the network, while taking actions to facilitate their diffusion among stakeholders and adoption by end-users. Results from this Action will provide relevant information for making a step forward towards a more sustainable irrigation management of European orchards. In cooperation with researchers, SMEs, service providers, local water authorities and fruit producers, knowledge resulting from this network activity will be disseminated to a wide spectrum of European stakeholders and to the general public, making European fruit production more resilient and raising awareness of the problems related to water scarcity.

WG1: Physiological parameters and sensing technologies
WG2: Models
WG3: Irrigation
WG4: Decision support systems: advantages and constraints
WG5: Guidelines for implementation into practice

CA19125: ‘EPIgenetic mechanisms of Crop Adaptation To Climate cHange’ [October 20 – September 24].

The ultimate objective of this proposed COST action is to define, develop, generate and share new breaking knowledge and methodologies for the investigation of epigenetic mechanisms modulating plant adaptation to environmental stresses driven by climate change. So far, no international network has been created with the aim of standardizing methodology in plant epigenetics/epigenomics and better integrate these data with other “omic” approaches. EPI-CATCH will create a pan-European framework for networking in this under-investigated research field. This COST Action will use a unique cross-disciplinary approach that brings together industrial developers, molecular geneticists, molecular biologists, crop breeders, agronomists, plant pathologists, and bioinformaticians. EPI-CATCH will explore new frontiers on both innovative and translational research targeting the new challenges in plant epigenetics. Four main specific objectives will be addressed by four working groups : 1) update of the most recent findings in crop epigenomics related to climate change, 2) development of new concepts and approaches in crop epigenetics and epigenomics that can be transferable in other living organisms, 3) establishment of common standardized pipelines, methods and workflows for generation, analysis and interpretation of epigenetic/epigenomic data, 4) an intense output dissemination and training for early-career scientists. The methodologies, concepts and ideas developed by EPI-CATCH will assist stakeholders to develop future innovative technologies to enhance environmental sustainability of agriculture in a rapid climate change scenario.

WG1: Updating, sharing and exchange of findings in plant epigenetics
WG2: New concepts and future frontiers in epigenetic/epigenomics
WG3: Definition of standards in methods, pipelines and workflows in plant epigenomics
WG4: Dissemination, communication and transfer of knowledge in plant epigenetics and epigenomics

George Manganaris serves as Core Group Member and Grant Awarding Coordinator

CA18210: ‘Oxygen sensing a novel mean for biology and technology of fruit quality’ [October 19 – October 23].

It is widely accepted that consumption of fruit and vegetable is beneficial to human health due to their content of essential nutrients such as vitamins and antioxidants. Any strategy aimed at increasing fruit consumption must necessarily improve the organoleptic qualities of these commodities since fruit quality is judged by the consumer not at the time of harvest but after a post-harvest period that can be long due to the complexity of the distribution channels. Fruits continue to evolve during their post-harvest shelf life which results in substantial deterioration. Postharvest losses are 30% of total fruit and vegetables production in Europe. Therefore, the control of the ripening process is instrumental to maintaining high nutritional and sensory values and to reducing post-harvest losses. Post-harvest management of fruits relies on controlled or modified atmosphere and on packaging. The recent discovery that factors involved in sensing low oxygen and oxidative stress are involved in ripening opens new research avenues for controlling fruit quality via innovative breeding strategies and new dedicated technologies. By bringing together researchers from different disciplines, the action is anticipated to bring major breakthroughs in the understanding of fruit physiology, thus providing new targets to control fruit quality and post-harvest shelf life. The research will implement advanced methodologies and concepts and will significantly enhance European competitiveness through promoting training of early stage researchers in cutting-edge technologies. By combining studies on different models this Action will lead to advances that will translate into novel practices and technologies to improve fruit sensory and nutritional qualities.

WG1: Data management and dissemination
WG2: Deciphering the mechanisms of low oxygen sensing in fruit crops
WG3: Impact of low oxygen, ROS and NO on fruit crop productivity and quality
WG4: Data integration and systems analysis of role of hypoxia and ROS signalling in crops
WG5: Applications and developments in postharvest


CA17111: ‘Data integration to maximise the power of omics for grapevine improvement (INTERGRAPE)’ [September 2018 – September 2022].

The COST Action INTEGRAPE will bring together all stakeholders in the grapevine research community (academic, industry, policymakers and consumers) in an open, international, and representative network to develop minimal data standards and good practices in order to integrate data repositories and improve interoperability between datasets. The ultimate objective is to harness and exploit all available data to achieve better management practices and more cost-effective breeding for improved genotypes. Grapevine is grown worldwide to produce fresh berries, processed fruits and wine. The major challenge is to control berry composition and maintain yields while limiting the use of pesticides, water and other inputs, thus adapting the industry to climate change while achieving environmental and economic sustainability. Grapevine research focuses on interactions between the genotype, phenotype and environment, and information must be integrated from heterogeneous datasets including ampelography, environmental biology, genetics, genomics, epigenomics, transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics. The data are currently dispersed and difficult to access, hindering meta-analysis (the re-use of grapevine data beyond the original experiments). No institution working in the field of grapevine research has yet taken on the mission to improve data integration and interoperability at the global level, although the grapevine research community is continuously producing large datasets. The concepts described will support stakeholders by developing innovative strategies to integrate grapevine data from existing resources and new experiments in a cost-effective manner, as well as making interoperable grapevine datasets and tools available in a secure and standardised format.

WG1: Data interoperability and definition of minimal contextual data standards
WG2: Interoperability of infrastructures and web services
WG3: Data analysis and best practices
WG4: Dissemination and user community assessment of guidelines and recommendations

George Manganaris is representing Cyprus in the Management Committee and his involvement in the action can be summarized as follows:

- Secondary proposer during drafting and submission of the proposal
- Core group member of INTEGRAPE COST Acton
- Responsible for organization of training schools


CA15136: ‘European Network to Advance Carotenoid Research & Applications in Agro-food and Health (EUROCAROTEN)’ [April 2016 – April 2020].

COST is a pan-European intergovernmental framework. Its mission is to enable break-through scientific and technological developments leading to new concepts and products and thereby contribute to strengthening Europe’s research and innovation capacities. The EUROCAROTEN will especially address novel sources of carotenoids, little studied carotenoids, how beneficial actions of carotenoids can be harnessed to promote health and to increase competitiveness of the European agro-food industry. EUROCAROTEN will gather and articulate critical mass of European actors to promote the co-operative use of infrastructures, synergistic interactions and the sharing, generation, application and communication of knowledge. This will contribute to strengthening Europe´s research and innovation capacities. As a result it will generate breakthroughs leading to applications like new technologies and/or high-quality foods and the establishment of health-promoting nutritional recommendations. Thus, EUROCAROTEN Cost-Action will contribute to create health, improve health and reduce costs related to serious diseases.

WG1: Production: Developing resources and biosynthetic pathways
WG2: Quality along the food chain
WG3: Nutrition & Health
WG4: Transfer, dissemination and exploitation

George Manganaris represented Cyprus in the Management Committee and his involvement in the action can be summarized as follows:

- Vice Working Group Leader of the WP4: Transfer, dissemination and exploitation
- Organization of the final meeting of the Action, Lemesos (26-28 November 2019).

FA1104: ‘Sustainable production of high-quality cherries for the European market’ [April 2012 – April 2016].

This Action aimed at creating a dynamic network of scientists and other professionals conducting research to improve sweet or sour cherry production in Europe, the main cherry producer. Cherries are highly appreciated fruits for their taste and nutritional properties. Their production is economically important for many fruit growers in almost every European region but there is a need for coordinated research. Therefore, this network addressed all research aspects related to cherry production, commercialisation, and consumption. It was a multidisciplinary approach that involved scientists working in the fields of plant breeding, genetics, genomics, agronomy, physiology, phytopathology, entomology, microbiology, post-harvest technology, and socio-economics. A special emphasis was placed on key EU priorities such as the promotion of sustainable agriculture and adaptation to climate change. The main deliverables was the exchange of data between research teams, the adoption of common experimental protocols, the implementation of predictive models in the fields of epidemiology and tree phenology, and the establishment of coordinated European marker-assisted selection strategies, including multi-location field trials.

WG1: Genetic resources and Breeding, Genetics and Genomics
WG2: Crop Production
WG3: Crop protection
WG4: Socio-economics and dissemination

George Manganaris represented Cyprus in the Management Committee and his involvement in the action can be summarized as follows:

- Convenor of 4-day Conference-type meeting [4-8 April 2016, Naoussa, Greece]
- Organizer of Training school entitled 'Qualitative, physicochemical and phytochemical indicators of cherry fruit'
- Working Group (WG) Leader: Crop production
- Oral defence of two 30-min keynote talks [Palermo, Bordeaux]
- Hosting of two students through Short Scientific Missions (STSMs)

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