Asian Seed Congress 2017 Special Interest Group – Vegetables & Ornamentals Meeting

Left: Narendra Dadlani; Jack Metzelaar; Michel Davarrewaere; Szabolcs Ruthner; Shital Dixit; Praveen Noojibail and Ray-Yu Yang

The meeting of Vegetables & Ornamentals Special Interest Group (SIG) was opened by SIG Chair, Mr. Michel Devarrewaere who started by updating members on recent activities of the group; namely, those of R & D Group (ASRT 2, collaborative research projects & APSA – WVC Consortium), study tour to France (see Asian Seed, Vol. 23, Issue four) and APSA’s interventions in developing the Myanmar seed sector (see NSA Meeting on p. 26). Mr. Jack Metzelaar, SIG Co Chair introduced the four speakers at the session. The meeting was on November 14, 2017.

The first speaker Dr. Ray-Yu Yang, Nutritionist at World Vegetable Center (WVC), presented on the topic of “Nutraceuticals in Vegetables” discussing the diversity and distribution of phytonutrients in vegetables; the health benefits of vegetables and the phytonutrients and improving nutrition and health through plant breeding (bio-fortification) and use of plant genetic resources and biodiversity.

Dr. Yang described the classification of phytonutrients – macro and micro – nutrients, and secondary metabolites, as well as classification of dietary phytochemicals. Discussing health benefits
using phytonutrients from vegetables, Dr. Yang opined that in vegetable improvement programs, by focusing on yield increases, we often compromise nutritional quality. She advocated better use of biodiversity as sources for phytonutrients.

The second speaker Mr. Praveen Noojibail, Managing Director of I and B Seeds, India, in his presentation on “Marigold in Asia – a Golden opportunity”, discussed the types of marigolds (African, French, Mexican and signet), their use (garden, cut flowers and oleoresin extraction), their sales value (global and Asia) and the Asian cultivation and market trends. Mr. Praveen mentioned that while suppliers (including breeders) were increasing in the region in recent years, the market price had declined.

India, Europe and China ranked top in the global market, worth $34 million (see table to right). He mentioned that while African marigolds had a larger share of the markets in Americas and  Europe, the market in Asia (India, China, Thailand, Japan, Korea and Vietnam being the main players) was dominated by garden types, followed by cut flower varieties for garlands and those for oleoresin extraction.

The next speaker Mr. Szabolcs Ruthner from the International Seed Federation (ISF), discussed the composition of the ISF Working Group on Disease Resistance Terminology and the importance of the international work of this working group. He invited members from the Asian region to join this important ISF working group.

In the last presentation, Dr. Shital Dixit from Key Gene, the Netherlands, spoke on “Genome Editing in Crops: Application in Light of Scientific, Regulatory and Economic Perspectives”. She discussed the various technologies for gene editing, the editing spectrum, delivery of gene editing tools and effects of combining various gene editing tools.

She discussed the examples of Key Gene edited traits under plant architecture, reproduction, fruit ripening and disease resistance and gave examples of herbicide tolerant crop species including
tomato, cabbage, lettuce and petunia, which were developed using gene editing. Dr. Shital also discussed the regulatory systems in the Americas and Europe, with reference to whether or not the products of the technology were being considered GMOs. She ended her presentation by discussing the benefits of gene editing technologies for consumers, growers and breeders.

SIG Chair Mr. Devarrewaere then informed members of future planned activities, including a study tour and a Working Group of Integrated Seed Companies. Co Chair Mr. Metzelaar wrapped up by summing up the session’s presentations.


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