WHY SHOULD WE INVESTIGATE VEGETABLE GRAFTING?
Agricultural productivity must increase by 60% to feed the expected population of 9.6 billion people in 2050, and must be achieved through a socio-environmental sustainability of the natural resources. However, vegetable production around the world is being increasingly hampered by the unfavourable soil and environmental conditions that include abiotic constraints such as drought, extreme temperature, salinity, flooding, low nutrients, organic and heavy metals contamination, as well as biotic ones assoil and air-borne pests and diseases. This situation is aggravated by successive cropping, environmental policies, as the phase-out of the chemical soil disinfectants, and negative impacts of climate change. While genetic breeding cannot always provide efficient solutions, vegetable grafting has developed very quickly in the last 50 years, mainly to induce shoot vigor and to overcome soil borne diseases in susceptible crops, as a surgical alternative to breeding. However, both the development of new rootstocks and new applications in agriculture for crop improvement are hampered by the limited knowledge existing on the physiological and genetic mechanisms underlying rootstock × scion interactions × environment interactions. A major goal of research in vegetable grafting should be gaining sound understanding about the physiological and genetic basis of those interactions and the agronomic performance of rootstock-mediated traits in order to establish a solid scientific basis for developing efficient rootstocks, grafting technologies and management practices for different horticultural species and specific environments. Scientific and technical collaboration will further contribute to a wider development and exploitation of vegetable grafting towards socio-economic-environmental sustainable agriculture and food security.
Pérez-Alfocea, F. (2015). WHY SHOULD WE INVESTIGATE VEGETABLE GRAFTING?. Acta Hortic. 1086, 21-29
food security, sustainable agriculture, fruit quality, new cultivars, R×S×E, new applications, transgrafting, societal and environmental challenge