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Spain: Test of probiotics with strawberries to reduce pesticide use

In the framework of a project funded by the Centre for Industrial Technological Development (CDTI), Grufesa, and AMC Chemical, the CEU San Pablo University of Madrid is researching how to increase the potential of strawberries to prevent health issues.

The goal is to develop a new integral technology capable of improving the quality of strawberries using a lower amount of agrochemicals, thus contributing to improving food safety within a sustainable agriculture. The prospect is also to extend the fruit's post-harvest shelf life.

To achieve this, the plant is stimulated with probiotics, natural agents that are pre-selected, tested and produced in the laboratories of the University's Faculty of Pharmacy. These probiotics stimulate the plant's immune system, which means that the plant is protected against pathogens, allowing the producer to reduce pesticide use.

This immunization also entails the presence of bioactive compounds of interest in the prevention of certain human diseases. Once the probiotic has been produced in the laboratory, tests are carried out on the plant, in the cultivation chambers and in the greenhouse. Subsequently, it is tested in the field, assessing the products' biofortification and its effects on certain health markers.

The research group, led by professor F. Javier Gutiérrez Mañero, includes professors of Plant Physiology Beatriz Ramos, José Antonio Lucas, Ana García-Villaraco and Alfonso Bonilla Martínez; doctoral researchers Helena Martín and Enrique Gutiérrez; and the research technician Ángela Budia.

Source: Europa Press

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