Escola Superior de Biotecnologia

Stargate: CBQF project aims to answer to the challenges of the agri-food sector

Saturday, February 18, 2021 - 11:24

In order to respond to the major challenges of European agri-food systems, researchers from the Centre for Biotechnology and Fine Chemistry (CBQF) of the Faculty of Biotechnology are developing the STARGATE project – "Sensors and daTA tRaininG towards high-performance Agri-food sysTEms", funded by Horizon 2020 through the "Twinning of research institutions" program.

In collaboration with leading international institutions – the Wageningen Research, the French Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (INRAE) and the German Plant Genetics and Research Institute (IPK),- this project will allow deepening and sharing knowledge that will contribute to the creation of more resilient and sustainable agri-food systems.

Climate change, increasing population and consequent increase in productivity lead to an increasing need to track and control the entire complex process of the food chain from production to consumer. Through the STARGATE project, it will be possible to increase knowledge about high-tech sensors and phenotyping technologies, with a view to developing predictive models for crops that are more resistant, robust to climate change and that can be integrated into circular agriculture.

Under this project it will also be possible to identify the potential impact of genetic resources and biodiversity on food, select the best raw material to generate premium food - nutritious, healthy, safe and sustainable -, reduce the use of fertilizers or herbicides, improve the nutritional value of crops and overall quality, prolong shelf life and also reduce and value losses in the context of circular economy.

Manuela Pintado, the main researcher of the project, explains that "through the fruitful articulation between the different members of the project, farmers and the agri-food industry it will be possible to develop sensors and multimetric technologies and phenotyping of plants that will allow the development of more resilient and sustainable agri-food systems". Manuela Pintado also points out that for "the Centre for Biotechnology and Fine Chemistry, the STARGATE project will contribute decisively to the centre, positioning itself as a center of national and international excellence in high-performance agri-food systems".