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Valorizing Andean microbial diversity through sustainable intensification of potato-based farming systems (VALORAM)
Start date: Feb 1, 2009, End date: Jan 31, 2014 PROJECT  FINISHED 

VALORAM aims at exploring and valorizing Andean soil microbial diversity for the development of alternative, efficient technologies and crop management practices to improve the sustainability and productivity of Andean cropping systems benefiting rural farming households. The project will focus on potato because of its global importance for small-scale farmers in the central Andean highlands. The participants will use metagenomic, genomic, proteomic and metabolomic analysis to identify novel traits of microorganisms and characterize beneficial soil microbial communities, to achieve the objective. The project specific aims are to (1) explore the agro-ecosystem functions of soil microbes in potato-based cropping systems and preserve the components of this microflora in international culture collections, (2) elucidate the role of rhizosphere microorganisms and communities in promoting plant growth, suppressing soil borne disease and priming plant biotic defenses, developing eco-efficient technologies/products for sustainable crop production systems, (3) develop applied technologies and knowledge-based systems to improve the sustainability and resilience of potato based cropping systems for the benefit of the indigenous farmers and (4) promote the exchange of scientific knowledge and technologies among partners and the LA scientific community to impulse research in this area and support the continuous development of crop production technologies. The strategy for VALORAM implementation is to engage LA and EU partners in developing and further stengthening collaborative research activities in order to sustainably improve potato-based systems. This is supported by a multidisciplinary team of experts with highly complementary skills and based on a robust management structure with an efficient workshop and communication programme. The results will directly benefit the local partners and may also contribute to increase the productivity of organic potato production in the EU.

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