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Plant Genetic Resources Newsletter: Collecting plant genetic resources in Portulgal

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Plant Genetic Resources Newsletter: Collecting plant genetic resources in Portulgal
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  Plant Genetic Resources Newsletter 1994 No. 97: 53 Collecting plant genetic resources in Porb.lgal B.S. Kurlovich and N.B. Brutch N .I. Vavilov Institute of Plant Industr y, 190000 B. Morskaya str., 44 , St. Petersburg, Russia In 1992, scientists from the N.I. Vavilov Institute of Plant Industry (Russia) and the National Institute of Agricultural Research (Portugal) collected plant genetic resources in Portugal. This country is of particular interest since it is situated on the lower west extremity of the Pyrenees peninsula and has abundant subtropical Mediterranean vegetation. Here one can find many wild relatives of grain le- gumes, fodder, grain, and industrial and fruit crops. Portugal is also one of the most ancient agricultural countries. It has rich experience in local breeding. But now in Portugal, local forms are being intensively replaced by commercial varieties and hybrids. This emphasizes the importance of collecting and maintaining local forms of different agricultural crops. In Portugal the soils are poor and acid, summer is hot and dry, and winter is wet. The lack of low winter temperatures does not permit the growth of real winter crops. Many spring and semi-winter crops such as lupin, fodder beans, peas and grains are sown in autumn. This practice presents special demands for breeders. The plants must accumulate great vegetative mass if they are to survive the wet winter. So , in Portugal, the basic material available for breeding may be assumed to contain resistance to abiotic factors, diseases and vermin. In this paper, we describe the genetic diversity and agronomy of major crop species and their wild relatives. Grain crops Wheat is the main grain crop in Portugal. It occupies 630 000 ha. The centre of wheat breeding is the station in Elvash. Special attention is paid to resistance to abiotic factors and to grain quality. Work with rye, oats and barley is also carried out. Great success has been obtained in the breeding of triticale, such as producing new varieties of triticale without lax ear. Maize is second in importance in grain production after wheat. Local forms of maize are now very intensively replaced by commercial hybrids. Farmers presented us with some interesting forms both on the continent and on Madeira island, where rare samples with two rows of grains on the corn cob were found. The main work involved in breeding, collecting and maintaining the genetic resources of maize is carried out by the experimental station in Braga (Pego, 1982 . Lupine One of the aims of the collecting mission was to collect wild and cultivated forms of upinu s albus L. , upinu s luteus L. and upinu s an gus tifolius L. According to the results of our previous investigations (Kurlovich, 199la, 1991b , the Iberian peninsula is the centre of srcin of L luteu s and L an gus tifoliu s  This supports the need for collecting this species in Portugal. Many scientists (Gladstones, 1974 ; Kazimierski and Nowacki, 1961; Mota, 1984; Simpson and Martins, 1984 consider Portugal to possess the greatest variety of lupin in the world, including very effective sources of resistance to such diseases as fusarial wilt and anthrachnose. Iberian lupins contributed to the breeding of L luteus for resistance to fusarium wilt and L an g ustifoliu s for resistance to gray leaf spot and low temperature. Among Iberian lupins there is good initial material for the breeding of small-seeded varieties, with a large green mass. The local name for lupin is tremoco . upinus a bus L  Peasants in Portugal grow this species of lupin for its high protein obtained after the extraction of alkaloids by means of boiling and soaking in flowing water. One can buy boiled lupin in markets, shops and restaurants. In the regions where lupin used to be grown, wild forms can be found on the roadside, in fields and at the foot of mountains. This form has great variety. Here one can find large-seeded and small-seeded and spring and winter ecotypes. From the south to the northwest of the country, the size of lupin beans and seeds decreases, but the duration of the vegetative period and florescence, number and size of leaf increases (Simpson and Martins, 1984 . The greatest variety of forms was revealed in southern Portugal. upinus luteus L  Alkaloid yellow lupin is traditionally grown in the south of Portugal (in the provinces Alentezhu and Algarvi). It is used as green fertilizer and forage for sheep. Here one can come across wild and savage forms of yellow lupine. upinus angustifolius L This species of lupin in Portugal can be found mainly as wild forms. Its local name is tremoco bravo . Despite a wide variety of forms, its main forms are small-seeded ecotypes, which have grown for the longest time in the same place. They have primitive, dominant signs: small leaves and seeds, hard seeds and monopodial branching. Large-seeded and wild-leaved forms grow mainly on the  54 Plant Genetic Resources Newsletter 1994 No. 97 sides of roads and fields. This is evidence that Portugal is the centre of srcin of wild L angustifolius (Kurlovich,1991a). Other grain legumes Haricot, pea, chickpea, fodder beans, lentil and cowpea are widespread in Portugal. Mainly local varieties of this crop are cultivated. Haricot occupies annually 60 000-65 000 ha. Total production is 55 000-60 000 t, with an average yield of 1.5-1.8 tonnes/ha. Haricot is used both in ripe form and green blade. Climber and shrub ecotypes are grown. Green peas are cultivated mainly for longterm conservation. In addition, soaked green peas are very popular. Peas have a variety of seed and flower colour. Local forms also differ in the length of the vegetative period, weight of seeds and yield. Industrial crops The main industrial crop is sunflower. Portugal has no endemic varieties, so farmers buy seed for sowing from Spain. New varieties are required to be tested by breeding institutions for adaptation to the local conditions, particularly for summer drought. These local conditions indicate the main demands placed upon the new varieties for sowing. One advantage of such unfavourable conditions is that they do not permit the majority of parasitic fungus to live. Another important crop is flax, cultivated in the northern part of the country and on Madeira island. This is a traditional crop for Portugal, but now the sowing area is greatly reduced. The main reason for this is that growing flax is very labour intensive. The majority of the remaining sown area is occupied by flax that is used for fibre. Linseed for oil is cultivated in mountainous regions as a winter culture. The combination of low winter temperatures and reduced photoperiod delays growth and development until spring, when budding occurs. Absence of strong frosts permits linseed to survive in spite of the fact that it lacks real winter forms. Peasants mainly use local forms of flax and linseed, which makes a very valuable contribution to the conservation of plant genetic resources. Fibre of flax is used for handicrafts, and with the help of old wooden looms, is used to weave decorative items such as napkins and tablecloths. n initiative is being taken by the Ministry of Agriculture to revive the flax culture in Portugal. Flax varieties of foreign breeding such as Belinka, Natastha, Hera from Holland and Ariane from France are being imported for this purpose. These varieties, in the reduced photoperiod conditions found in the mountains in the north of Portugal, grow to a height of more than one metre, although this height is typical for long photoperiod conditions. Other industrial crops are also cultivated in Portugal. These include rapeseed and safflower for oil production and groundnut for confectionery. Kenaf Hibiscu s cann   binus) is now being grown for paper production. Conservation in collections The creation of plant genetic resources collections was initiated in Portugal in the late 1970s . Prior to this, there were some uncoordinated collections of cultivated crops and wild relatives held in the countr y, but unfortunately these were lost in the mid-1970s. The National Institute of Agricultural Research (INIA) with stations in El vash, Ueyrash and Braga holds collections of some major crop s. Different methods are used for making collections. Collecting missions are organized annually. Scientists obtain seeds of local varieties from farms. International collaboration in collecting missions, especially with Spain, is also used, as well as the exchange of germplasm. Low temperatures of -18 °C are used for storage of the collections. Firstly, seeds are dried in special dryers to a humidity of 5 and then packed in aluminium foil or plastic. Al though a special storehouse has been built in Braga, in other stations domestic freezers are used, for economic reasons. Unfortunately, because of lack of money, specimens are not always studied and multiplied. Conclusion Portugal is very rich in the plant genetic resources of cultivated crops and their wild relatives. All collected specimens will be evaluated, multiplied and used in breeding now or maintained for breeding in the future or for genetic investigations. For this purposes not only commercial crops but also their wild forms are necessary. Acknowledgements Thanks are due to the director of the National Institute of Agricultural Research (Lisbon) Manuel Barradas and other scientists of this Institute and its stations: Francisco Bagulho, Manuel Tavares de Sousa, Antonio Raimundo, Neves Martins, Rena Farias, Miguel Mota, Mario Alexandra da Silwa and Toaj Lazaro Silva. References Kurlovich B.S ., 1991a, Lupin - Lupinu s L g e ography , classification, breeding ). Dissertation for the Degri of Dr. Sci. (biol). St.-Peters bur g. 48 p. Kurlovich B.S. Ecological-geographical classification of lupin and its use in breeding. St.-Petersburg, 199lb. 89 p. Gladstones J.S. Lupinus of the Mediterranean region and Africa. Bull. West. Aust. Dep.Agr.1974. N 26. 48 p. Kazimierski T. , Nowacki E. Lupinu s of the Old World. Gen.Polonica. 1961. V.2 . N 8. P.115. Mota M. upin germplasm resources in Portugal. Abs. III rd . Inter. Lupine Conf. La Rochelle (France). 1984. P.8. Fego S.E . Genetic potential of Portuguese maize germplasm with abnormal ear shape. Dissertation for the Degree of Ph.D.Ames, Iowa. 1982. 249 p. Simpson M.J.A. , Martins J.M.N. Distribution of plant types in Lupi nus a/bu s L Abs.Ill-Inter.Lupine Conf. La Rochelle (France). 1984. P.7.
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