On 19th February 2019, BASF inaugurated a brand new high-tech research centre in Sant'Agata Bolognese, Italy. The centre extends over 13 hectare, counts three greenhouses, and it includes a phytopathology lab. Over 80 people will work here, 40 of which completely dedicated to research and development.
Cutting of the ribbon. Left to right: Jose Salinas, Giuseppe Vicinelli, Stefano Bonaccini, Alberto Ancora
At the R&D Center, tomatoes, peppers, watermelons and lettuce are to be bred, to achieve a better resistance/tolerance to disease, productivity, organoleptic quality and shelf-life.
The company put a lot of attention to details in setting up the greenhouses. The manager Claudio Castellari explained, "If we want to obtain novel varieties, everything must be carefully planned. Genetic markers are very helpful for breeders like us, as they allow us 'marking' the gene we are interested in. In this way, it is easier to see if that has been transmitted or not".
"We must keep producer needs into consideration while at the same time meeting market demands", he continues. "The market asks for products with better preservability and taste, while growers mainly care of yields and resistance to diseases. It is not always easy to find a 'middle ground'."
The Center also features a phytopathology lab. As Samantha Guiderdone with BASF explains, they perform screenings on genetic resistances, study protocols, and carry out diagnoses in order to help breeders to identify the most interesting varieties in terms of resistance to insects, fungi, bacteria, nematodes and viruses.
Basf Vegetable Seeds manager Alberto Ancora was the host of the event. The president of the Emilia Romagna regional government Stefano Bonaccini was the special guest. The Mayor of Sant'Agata Bolognese Giuseppe Vicinelli also participated in it. "But the real protagonists are the center's employees, those who carry out breeding and administration activities on a daily basis."
For more information:
Basf Vegetable Seeds
Via Ghiarone 2, 40019
Sant'Agata Bolognese (BO)
Tel.: +39 051 6817411