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Strategic lines

The research strategic lines, divided into working areas are the following:

1. Biotechnology line 

1.1. Agricultural Biotechnology

Crop protection: Development and application of bio-insecticides. Plant pathology and phytobacteriology.

Advanced fruit growing and viticulture: Representation of the agronomic behaviour of fruit trees and vines. Precision agriculture. Irrigation and woody crop nutrition management. Risk assessment of climate damages and losses produced in woody crops Phitogenetic resources management: exploration, preservation, identification, characterisation and assessment of varieties and clones of woody species.

Plant agro-biotechnology: The wide experience in in-vitro crops and genetic transformation of monocotyledonous and dicotyledonous plants stands out. Apart from the capacity to obtain transgenic plants through nuclear transformation, we have the capacity to obtain transplastomic plants (transformation of plastid genome). These technologies have been used in molecular agriculture, i.e. production of proteins of biopharmaceutical or industrial interest in plants. The plants from our labs have produced both proteins of therapeutic interest and vaccines for human or animal use. Another interesting line is the use of transgenic plants to study the redox regulation through thiorreoxines in plants. The latest research line included is the characterisation and use of yeast as biofertiliser and biocontrol agent against phitopatogenic fungus. In this line we collaborate with different companies from the agri-food industry.

1.2. Microbial Biotechnology

Genetics and Microbiology: Molecular genetics and improvement of higher basidiomycetes. Production of biofuels. Classification of vegetal and fungus material using molecular markers. Use of molecular markers in plant genetic improvement.. Genomic, epigenomic and transcriptomic analysis.

1.3. Healthcare Biotechnology

Control of the gene expression: Characterisation of promoters. Tumour biology of neuroblastoma.  Definition and analysis of the action mechanism of new antineoplastic agents.

2. Environmental agro-biology line

2.1. Management of agroforestry systems

Ecology and environment: The Forest Ecology team of the Ecology and Environment group of UPNA started in 1999 a long-term project to study the effects of the forest management (i.e. thinning) on the way of work ( tree production and nutrients cycle) and the structure (diversity and biodiversity of soils and undergrowth) of two very different Pyrenean forests – on Mediterranean and the other continental. 

From 1999 to 2006 the extraction and rotation limits of trees were defined through the modelling of field data in order to ensure a sustainable management of nutrients in both forests.  The quick spread of the European beech in the Mediterranean led us to consider it a mixed forest and not a pure wild pine forest. Therefore, from 2007 to 2012 we used dendroecology and the study of the water and nutrients flows to show that mixed and pure patches work differently in this mixed forest. 

From 2013 to 2017 we focused our research efforts on interactions among tree species, local and global climate change and nutrients and water flows throughout time.  We are currently trying to build patterns to rebuild the nutrients flows from the past.  In order to do so, we use a long-term group of data, dendroecology and field experiments.  Other research lines which have recently started are the study of root dynamics and the use of unmanned air vehicles (UAV) to define the forest structure.

Access to detailed list of publications and free downloads

2.2. Plant Physiology and Agro-Biology

Plant physiology and agro-biology: Use of nitrogen in agricultural systems: (I) tolerance mechanisms to ammonium in plants and (II) use of natural and synthetic suppressors of the nitrification and their impact on the nitrogenous nutrition of plants. Nitrogen fixation in legumes: metabolic regulation and agricultural implications.  Impact of herbicides and adaptation to natural elements.  Redox and antioxidant signalling in plants: bio and nano-technological applications. Tolerance to drought mechanisms on a root level.