Plant Conservation

​The main seven activities that shall be carried out in the proposed project in relation to the conservation of plant genetic resources are being highlighted below:

ACTION 1

Project management.

  • Setting up of procedures to ensure that the project is proceeding according to plan;
  • Monitoring of all actions and internal control of quality of delivery;
  • Carrying out gap analysis;
  • Drafting and issuing of required tenders and calls for expression of interest.

ACTION 2

Exploration and documentation of local landraces and varieties of agricultural plants and vegetables.

  • Literature review for available information;
  • Exploration of the local territory for localisation of plants (this shall primarily involve traders and farmers);
  • Surveying and inventorying of plant material available and fields in which local varieties are being cultivated;
  • Assessment of the threats and the grade of genetic erosion such varieties reached;
  • Collection of statistical data such as cultivation patterns, quantities available on the Maltese market, etc. 

ACTION 3

Collection of knowledge and plant material, technical examination and conservation of plant material.

  • Collection and compilation of indigenous knowledge provided by the persons involved in the cultivation of specific local varieties (origin, properties, advantages of use, market situation); 
  • Sampling and collection of seeds for quality testing (germination and purity);
  • Drafting of standard operating procedures where necessary;
  • Preliminary morphological characterisation of the varieties and establishment of preliminary variety descriptions;
  • Sustainable use of the varieties and their products (awareness, promotion and dissemination of information at local level); 
  • Promotion and support the efforts of farmers and local communities oriented towards     organising and conserving such genetic resources on their farms/land;
  • Ex situ long term conservation of plant material – study on the identification of the most feasible method;
  • Regeneration of conserved germplasm.

ACTION 4

Exploration, documentation, collection and ex situ conservation of local crop wild relatives.

  • Literature review for available information;
  • Exploration of the local territory for localisation and identification of plants;
  • Surveying and inventorying plants;
  • Sampling and collection of seeds for ex situ conservation and cultivation in the garden (which is part of the visitor’s centre) mentioned in Action 6.

ACTION 5

Clonal and sanitary selection and ex situ conservation of local citrus varieties.

  • Literature review for available information;
  • Exploration of the local territory for localisation of the trees;
  • Collection of explants and sanitation of the accessions at the lab;
  • Mini-grafting of produced plantlets and acclimatisation;
  • Conservation of the trees in the screenhouse.


ACTION 6

Establishment of a visitor’s centre at the Plant Biotechnology Centre and preservation garden.

  • Construction and finishing of the visitor’s centre which shall also include the seed testing laboratory, offices and the garden;
  • Cultivation and ex situ conservation of crop wild relatives and traditional local plant species;
  • Creation of habitats where wild relatives are known to grow in the wild.

ACTION 7

Extension of the laboratories of the Diagnostic and Control Unit.

  • Construction and finishing of the extension of the laboratories;
  • Sanitary assessment of the chosen citrus trees and the resulting plantlets.