Rocket crop is a popular Brassica baby leaf much appreciated in the Mediterranean diet, grown in Southern Europe, the Middle East and South-East Asia. The downy mildew disease, caused by the oomycete Hyaloperonospora sp., represents an increasing threat in rocket production. The severe legislation adopted in Europe on the use and registration of new pesticides implies the need to develop an Integrated Production Management (IPM) strategies, less dependent on chemical products.
The project consortium integrates a multidisciplinary experts team to better understand wild rocket-Hyaloperonospora sp. pathosystem with the identification and characterization of wild rocket (Diplotaxis tenuifolia) varieties, and the improvement of the production technologies. The need for sustainability – more and better food production with reduced inputs and waste production – requires a growing investment in scientific knowledge, technology, and innovation.
The REMIRUCULA project is an opportunity to clarify the problem of the high susceptibility of wild rocket to downy mildew that strongly affects the producers worldwide. The transfer of knowledge and the technological innovation will strengthen the competitiveness of the productive sector of rocket, reducing the dependence and risks associated with the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers, with national and international socioeconomic impact. In addition to the benefits to the productive sector, there will be clear environmental benefits by reducing soil and water contamination problems, as well as promoting healthy food and food security, especially important in the context of climate change and increasing global food supply.
Keywords: Diplotaxis tenuifolia; downy mildew; molecular markers; metabolomics; wild rocket-Hyaloperonospora sp. interaction.