Tuesday 28 November 2023

Antonio de Ron: “We have no industry here to deal with the demand of Galician seeds”

Planting pulses seeds adds hydrogen to our soil, it´s cost productive, and it does not pollute the environment. This is the predicament that UN for Food and Agriculture-aka FAO– chose 2016 as the Year of the Vegetable protein. “the priorities, this year, is to increase its consumption in some countries and to better their genetic properties”, says the researcher of the CSIC Antonio de Ron, who from the Misión Biológica of Galicia, is responsible for the preservation and betterment of corn, vine, green beans, peas and brassica genetics. They range from grain legume crops such as the traditiønal Galician collard greens to the green and red cabbage .

Antonio de Ron.
Antonio de Ron.

This cluster of legumes together with the soil bacteria called rhizobia fix nitrogen (diazotrophs) and enrich the soil after becoming established inside root nodules of legumes (Fabaceae). “this allows later on to plant other things like cereals” without killing the soil nutrients. This is an awesome symbiosis and is really opening new pathways of research. The main research, however, is based on genetic improvements with a clear target in mind: the increase of production. Something, says De Ron, “relatively affordable”. “We adapt legumes to new weather and soil conditions or to enhance resistance to plagues.”

All in all, “To make them resistant in the long run so as to avoid pesticides, which pollute underground water and soil ” and to implement better produce qualities like a thinner skin and a better texture. “Now we have been working on adding some new more elements and nutrients, which can improve peoples health like antioxidants, which may prevent heart ailments”, says the CSIC researcher who has just published a Grain Legumes digest with the aid of the American Springer publishers. His book is devoted to the basic 8 grain legumes and include eight chapters devoted to the breeding of specific grain legume crops and five general chapters dealing with new approaches to the genetic improvement of these species, including the relationships with their symbiotic rhizobia.


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