Report on the XIVth EUCARPIA Capsicum and Eggplant Working Group Meeting

 

The XIVth EUCARPIA Capsicum and Eggplant Working Group Meeting was held in Valencia, Spain (August 30-September 1, 2010) in the Congress Hall of the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia.

 

The Meeting brought together 173 participants from 30 countries of the five continents, and to our knowledge it has been the greatest ever meeting of specialists in pepper and eggplant breeding. A very important fact is that 30% of the participants were from seed companies, indicating that this meeting attracted a wide interest of the private breeding sector. It is also remarkable that 30% of the participants were from outside geographical Europe, which means that EUCARPIA Capsicum and eggplant Meetings have gained a high level of prestige and are regarded as the must-go meetings for pepper and eggplant breeders from all around the world. The fact that this Meeting was also included as a post-congress activity of the 28th International Horticultural Congress, celebrated in Lisbon from 22 to 27 of August 2010, contributed to facilitate the attendance of more participants from outside of Europe, which in a single trip were able to attend two scientific meetings, one more general in Lisbon, and another one more specific in Valencia.

 

The programme included 81 contributions, of which 27 were assigned to oral presentation and 53 to posters. Contributions presented covered a wide range of topics related to the genetics and breeding of peppers and eggplant. For the purposes of organization, they were divided into six sessions: i. Diversity, conservation, and enhancement of genetic resources; ii. Breeding for resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses; iii. Breeding for quality; iv. Breeding for yield; v. Development of molecular and other biotechnological tools; and, vi. New breeding objectives, evaluation and release of breeding material and cultivars, and seed production. The invited conference was entitled “An American in Spain”, referring to the Capsicum pepper, and was imparted by Paul Bosland before the reception in the Botanical Garden of Valencia.

 

All contributions were reviewed in depth by the scientific committee, which was composed by Marisol Arnedo, Paul Bosland, Marie-Christine Daunay, María José Díez, Anne Frary, Sergio Lanteri, Katarzyna Niemirowicz-Szczytt, Alain Palloix, Jaime Prohens, Adrián Rodríguez-Burruezo, Giuseppe Leonardo Rotino, John Stommel, and Roeland Voorrips. The review process consisted in a blind peer-review similar to those performed in the scientific journals and has resulted in the book of proceedings “Advances in genetics and breeding of Capsicum and Eggplant”, which has 540 pages and was delivered to the participants at the beginning of the meeting.

 

The scientific programme also included a workshop of the Sol Genomics Network, an important initiative of great implications for pepper and eggplant breeding, and a mini-symposium of the EU SPICY project, which uses pepper as a model plant for the improvement of yield.

 

The technical visit consisted in a visit to the Fundación Ruralcaja Experimental Farm, situated to the south of Valencia, where an exhibition of diversity of Capsicum and eggplant, with more than 170 local varieties, modern cultivars and wild relatives was visited by the participants.

 

The social events and gatherings were warmly taken by the participants, as was the reception in the Botanical Garden of Valencia (August 30), the visit and boat trip into the AlbuferaLakeNaturalPark (August 31), and the Meeting dinner (August 31), which was livened up by the performance of local music, dances and singing.

 

Finally, it was decided that the next Meeting, to be celebrated in 2013, will take place in Italy and will be organized by Drs. Giuseppe Leonardo Rotino and Sergio Lanteri. Both of them have a long experience in pepper and eggplant breeding, are leading scientists in their fields of research, and have successfully organized other scientific meetings in the past. All of this is a guarantee of success of the next edition of the EUCARPIA Capsicum & Eggplant Working Group Meeting, to which all of you with an interest in the genetics and breeding of these amazing crops are invited to participate.

 

Jaime Prohens & Adrián Rodríguez-Burruezo

 

Conveners of the XIVth EUCARPIA

 

Capsicum and Eggplant Working Group Meeting