Agriculture and rural development

AGRI GEN RES 050: Vegetative Allium, Europe's Core Collection, safe and sound

AGRI GEN RES 050: Vegetative Allium, Europe's Core Collection, safe and sound

Genetic resources
AGRI GEN RES 050: Vegetative Allium, Europe's Core Collection, safe and sound

Final results

The Garlic and Shallot action integrated substantial initial steps to build up a core collection, contributed to the cryopreservation and virus elimination of well-characterized material, cryopreserved genebank collection and improved collaboration and consolidated the knowledge about the diversity of garlic and shallot in Europe. More information regarding the results can be found in the executive summary.


The objectives of the action are:

  • To establish a European Core Collection of vegetative alliums, covering garlic including molecular characterisation, cryopreservation and virus elimination and molecular characterisation of shallot. 
  • To use European Allium Database to screen garlic and shallot germplasm. 
  • To screen 1600 garlic and 550 shallot accessions for redundant duplication by general molecular marker system. 
  • To confirm interrelationships by morphological character lists. 
  • To develop a structured Core Collection under elimination of redundant duplicates.  
  • To cryopreserve the 200 most important garlic accessions using vitrification. 
  • To exchange safety duplicates of cryopreserved garlic. 
  • To establish the Tripartite Cryopreservation Genebank. 
  • To disseminate CGP documents to facilitate joining other European partners. 
  • Virus elimination to free 125 most important garlic accessions from viruses, prove of virus-free state. 
  • Conclusions for future expanding preservation from garlic to shallot and other vegetative alliums. 

Actions and means involved

Because of increasing awareness that vegetatively maintained germplasm is the most expensive part of plant genetic resources, a consortium of seven European partners comprising main collection holders of vegetatively propagated alliums, virus and molecular marker experts was established to use high-tech methods for rationalisation and increase of storage safety and health conditions. Five work packages (WPs) were developed: Documentation, Molecular screening, Cryopreservation, Virus elimination and Coordination. The emphasis is on the WPs Molecular Characterisation, screening of 2150 accessions, cryopreservation, storing 200 accessions and virus elimination of 125 accessions. Most important is the universal use of one molecular marker system for all accessions to ensure comparability in screening for duplicates in genetic patterns, which requires service of one laboratory to all countries. A half-centralised approach for germplasm storage in liquid nitrogen will be adopted joining laboratories of three countries, which allows connecting the advantages of economically favourable centralisation and needed local safety splitting. Virus elimination increases germplasm quality facilitating its free exchange. This major investment in EU vegetative Allium genetic resources will result in upgrading the European Allium Database and considerable improvement of storage safety and health conditions of material, whose general number will be reduced by rationalisation after molecular marker comparisons. This rationalised collection will release budget and manpower otherwise needed to establish more expensive field duplication of germplasm. This budget can be used for collecting new germplasm, when the screening will show gaps in the collection. The better-structured core collection concept will provide all users more easy access to the germplasm.

Relevance to the objectives

The EURALLIVEG action will ensure and improve conservation, characterisation, collection and utilisation of PGR in agriculture in the community through:

  • Updating documentation of EU vegetatively propagated alliums, which highly improves access to collections;  
  • Reducing number of stored accessions by elimination of undesired (redundant) duplicates, facilitating establishment of desired (safety) duplicates, which will increase stability of the collection; 
  • Giving completed insight into genetic structure of two important crops, which will help identifying gaps in collections that can be filled by using money saved by rationalisation;  
  • Ensuring storage safety of most important (core) garlic germplasm in economically most efficient way, which will ensure long-term germplasm access for utilisation;  
  • Improving health conditions of most important (core) garlic germplasm, which will allow its easier distribution between EU countries and drastically reduce risk of diseases spreading;  
  • Disseminating results by publications and training, offering Internet-accessible database of the Cryo-Genebank.



Organisations implementing the co-funded action


Coordinator's website