US-Handelsministerium nimmt sich spanische Oliven vor

Zwei US-Produzenten behaupten in einer Klage, dass spanische Oliven um bis zu 200 Prozent unter Marktwert verkauft werden. Das US-Handelsministerium will den “unfairen Handel” stoppen.

oliven_1500025337079693Nach Holz aus Kanada und Zucker aus Mexiko nimmt die US-Regierung jetzt spanische Oliven ins Visier. Das Handelsministerium in Washington teilte am Donnerstag mit, es habe eine Untersuchung gestartet, ob Olivenimporte aus Spanien “unfair subventioniert” sind. Das Ministerium gehe damit einer Klage von zwei US-Olivenproduzenten nach.

Sie behaupten, dass spanische Oliven in den USA bis zu 200 Prozent unter Marktwert verkauft werden.

Handelsminister Wilbur Ross erklärte, die Regierung werde “rasch handeln, um jeglichen unfairen Handel zu stoppen”. Bis zum 7. August will das Ministerium entscheiden, ob Unternehmen und Beschäftigte in den USA tatsächlich geschädigt werden. Ab September könnte die Regierung vorläufige Strafzölle gegen spanische Oliven verhängen, im November dann endgültige.

Oliven-Exporte in Höhe von 71 Millionen Dollar

Spanien exportierte im vergangenen Jahr Oliven im Wert von knapp 71 Millionen Dollar (62 Mio. Euro) in die USA, wie das Ministerium mitteilte. Es handelte sich um “alle Farben, alle Formen, alle Größen” von reifen, verpackten Oliven. “Spezial-Oliven” etwa für den Martini gehören nicht dazu, auch mit Knoblauch oder Käse gefüllte Oliven nicht.

Die USA streiten sich bereits mit Kanada um den Import von Nadelbaumhölzern und den Export von US-Milchprodukten dorthin. Der Zuckerstreit mit Mexiko ist mittlerweile beigelegt – der Preis für Zucker aus Mexiko, der in die USA geliefert wird, wurde leicht angehoben.

US-Präsident Donald Trump hat auch in der Handelspolitik die Parole “Amerika zuerst” ausgegeben. Die Regierung will mehrere Freihandelsabkommen neu verhandeln. Multilaterale Abkommen mit vielen Mitgliedsländern sieht sie kritisch.

(Source: http://diepresse.com)

Greek Volunteers Harvest Olives for Fellow Residents in Need

As olives were harvested this fall to be prepped for the massive olive oil production that takes place throughout Greece, a special harvest took place in the municipality of Glyfada involving a humanitarian effort by the city and volunteers to provide olive oil to people in need.

Decoding the complete genome of the Mediterranean’s most emblematic tree: the olive

• A team of scientists from three Spanish centers has sequenced, for the first time ever, the complete genome of the olive tree.

• The results have been just published this week in the Open Access journal GigaScience. This work will facilitate genetic improvement for production of olives and olive oil, two key products in the Spanish economy and diet.

• The specimen sequenced is an olive tree of the Farga variety, one of the most widespread in eastern Spain, and over 1,300 years old.

dna1The olive was one of the first trees to be domesticated in the history of mankind, probably some 6,000 years ago. A Mediterranean emblem par excellence, it is of vital importance to the Spanish and other regional economies (Italy, Greece and Portugal). In fact, Spain is the leading producer of olive oil in the world. Every year, nearly three million tons of oil are produced, for local consumption and export. Spain produces one third of this total.

Nonetheless, up to now, the genome of the olive tree were unknown. The genome regulate such factors as the differences among varieties, sizes and flavor of the olives, why the trees live so long or the reasons for their adaptation to dryland farming.

Now a team of researchers from the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) of Barcelona, the Real Jardin Botánico (CSIC-RJB) and the Centro Nacional de Análisis Genómico (CNAG-CRG), has brought new insight to the genetic puzzle of the olive tree, by sequencing the complete genome of this species for the first time ever. The results of this work, fully funded by Banco Santander, have been published this week in the groundbreaking Open Access and Open Data journal GigaScience. The article will pave the way to new research work that will help olive trees in their development and protecting them from infections now causing major damage, such as the attacks of bacteria (Xilella fastidiosa) and fungi (Verticillium dhailae).

“Without a doubt, it is an emblematic tree, and it is very difficult to improve plant breeding, as you have to wait at least 12 years to see what morphological characteristics it will have, and whether it is advisable to cross-breed,” says principal author of this paper Toni Gabaldón, ICREA research professor and head of the comparative genomics laboratory at the CRG. “Knowing the genetic information of the olive tree will let us contribute to the improvement of oil and olive production, of major relevance to the Spanish economy,” he adds.

Private funding to support public science

The story of this project begins with a presentation, a coincidence and a challenge. Four years ago, Gabaldón worked with Pablo Vargas, a CSIC researcher at the Real Jardín Botánico, on the presentation of scientific results of projects focused on endangered species, such as the Iberian lynx, that had been financed by Banco Santander.

At that time, Banco Santander had expressed great interest in financing scientific projects in Spain. Over the course of the presentation, Pablo Vargas proposed to Emilio Botín the complete sequencing of the olive tree genome, using the same technology as had been used to sequence the lynx; in other words, the most state-ofthe-art technological strategy to achieve a high-quality genome.

Five months after that meeting, a contract was signed to carry out the first complete sequencing of the olive tree’s DNA, a three-year research effort coordinated by Pablo Vargas.

“There are three phases to genome sequencing: first, isolate all of the genes, which we published two years ago. Second, assemble the genome, which is a matter of ordering those genes one after the other, like linking up loose phrases in a book. Last, identify all of the genes, or binding the book. The latter two phases are what we have done and are now presenting,” says the CSIC Real Jardín Botánico researcher.

To continue with the book analogy, according to Tyler Alioto of the CNAG-CRG “this genome has generated some 1.31 billion letters, and over 1,000 GBytes of data. We are surprised because we have detected over 56,000 genes, significantly more than those detected in sequenced genomes of related plants, and twice that of the human genome.”

Decoding its evolutionary history

In addition to the complete sequencing of the olive tree genome, researchers have also compared the DNA of this thousand-year-old tree with other varieties such as the wild olive. They have also found the transcriptome, the genes expressed to determine what differences exist on the genetic expression level in leaves, roots and fruits at different stages of ripening.

The next step, researchers say, will be to decode the evolutionary history of this tree, which has formed part of old-world civilizations since the Bronze Age. At that time, in the eastern Mediterranean, the process of domesticating wild olive trees that led to today’s trees began. Later, selection processes in different Mediterranean countries gave rise to the nearly 1,000 varieties of trees we have today.

Knowing the evolution of olive trees from different countries will make it possible to know their origins and discover the keys that have allowed it to adapt to very diverse environmental conditions. It will also help discover the reasons behind its extraordinary longevity, as the trees can live for 3,000 to 4,000 years.

“That longevity makes the olive tree we have sequenced practically a living monument,” says Gabaldón. “Up to now, all of the individuals sequenced, from the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) to the first human being analyzed, have lived for a certain time, depending on their life expectancy, but then died or will die. This is the first time that the DNA of an individual over 1,000 years old, and that will probably live another 1,300 years, has been sequenced.” say Gabaldón and Vargas.

Reference: Fernando Cruz, Irene Julca, Jèssica Gómez-Garrido, Damian Loska, Marina MarcetHouben, Emilio Cano, Beatriz Galán, Leonor Frias, Paolo Ribeca, Marta Gut, Manuel Sánchez-Fernández, Jose Luis García, Ivo G. Gut, Pablo Vargas, Tyler S. Alioto, and Toni Gabaldón. “Genome sequence of the olive tree, Olea europaea” GigaScience 2016. DOI: 10.1186/s13742-016-0134-5

Image available at: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/k11ulb9k7kbb2iw/AACTz3H45t6b0PPjlrX53wQKa?dl=0

For more information and interviews:

Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) Laia Cendrós, press officer Tel. +34 93 316 0237 – Mobile +34 607 611 798 – laia.cendros@crg.eu

Real Jardín Botánico – CSIC Jesús García, head communications officer Tel. +34 91 420 30 17 ext 188 – press@rjb.csic.is

Centro Nacional de Análisis Genómico (CNAG-CRG) Anna Borrell, communication assistant Tel. + 34 93 402 0580 – anna.borrell@cnag.crg.eu

(Source: http://www.crg.eu)

Educational Games for Olive and Olive Oil

“In the areas surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, people have not been living alone. For thousands of years, they have been living together with a different kind of population, a population that constantly grows and expands over the plains, the slopes and the mountains of the hinterland of the Mediterranean countries. This is the population of the olive trees,” as we learn from the back cover of a new book, On the Olive Routes by Nikos Michelakis, Angela Malmou, Anaya Sarpaki, and George Fragiadakis.

OliveGames and Routes

Above there is a series of educational games and digital books created under the Project of Raising Youth Awareness for Olive and Olive Oil from Association of Cretan Olive Municipalities in cooperation with the International Olive Council (http://www.olivegames.gr/).

(Source: http://www.oliveoiltimes.com)

Olive growers go from frying pan to fire

HOT and dry weather throughout Australia’s south has olive farmers nervous after last year’s devastating harvest.

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A heatwave earlier this month saw temperatures soar past 45C in Adelaide and 40C in Melbourne, placing further pressure on plantations, which already suffered from a drier than usual December according to Olives South Australia president Michael Johnston.

Just 6mm of rain fell in Adelaide in December, less than half the amount from 2013. And although isolated rain of up to 40-50mm fell on parts of South Australia and Victoria in the past week, for many farmers the damage is done.

Temperatures are again expected to climb into the high 30s for both states by Tuesday.

(More: http://www.theaustralian.com.au)

 

Croatian Olive Growers Face a Disappointing Harvest

By ISABEL PUTINJA on October 20, 2014

The olive harvest has started earlier than usual in the Croatian olive-growing regions of Istria and Dalmatia, bringing disappointing yields for producers. While 2013 was a record year for the Croatian olive harvest, local olive growers are facing a poor crop this time around.

istria

Following a rainy summer with less than average temperatures, olive trees have been ravaged by the olive fruit fly (Bactrocera oleae) which thrives in such climatic conditions. This pest is a serious threat to olive growers, causing the attacked fruit to fall prematurely and impacting the quantity and quality of olive oil produced.

Davor Zanini, an oil mill owner in the Istrian peninsula, told the regional newspaper Glas Istre that local oil producers are facing a particularly bad harvest and, despite their hard work, are getting less olive oil from their crop than expected. While 10 kilograms of olives usually produce a liter of oil, this year 12 to 13 kilograms are needed because of the poor quality fruit.

Though the Croatian olive harvest this year is overall very disappointing compared to previous years, there are a few regions which have had good yields. Ivica Ljubenkov, president of the Association of Croatian Olive Oil Growers and Producers (Zajednice maslinara i uljara Hrvatske) told Croatian news portal tportal.hr that some small areas of Dalmatia known for their high-quality olive oil were spared the wrath of the olive fruit fly, like the coastal town of Skradin and Vela Luka on the western part of the island of Korčula.

An increase in consumer prices for Croatian olive oil is likely to be the result of this year’s poor olive harvest.

(Source: http://www.oliveoiltimes.com)

Spanish Scientists Awarded for Research on Olive Cultivation

By IVÁN L. GIMENO on October 30, 2014
Filed in European Union

The results of the second Scientific Research in Olives and Olive Oil Awards, sponsored by the Caja Rural of Jaén Foundation, were announced during a conference in the Andalusian capital today. The Spanish scientific researchers Mercedes Campos and Mario Porcel were awarded the €5,000 prize.

awards

Geolit, the technological and scientific park of Jaén located in Mengíbar, was the venue of this event, whose jury decided to elect the research “Bioecological Study of the Chrysopidae Family in Olive Orchards: a Population Growth and Conservation Perspective,” written by both scientists as the winning choice.

The second prize was granted to the work of three young Spanish scientists, Javier Sanz, Manuel David García and Manuel Barneo for their study “Jaén´s Mountain Oliva Oil: Quality and Value Chain,” awarded with €2,000. Finally, the jury also decided to give a special mention to the research “Prospective, Study and Evaluation of the Mosses as Vegetal Cover in Jaén´s Oliva Oil Fields,” written by the team composed by Susana Rams, Milagros Saavedra and Cristina Alcántara.

This is the second edition of the awards, which are recognized in the Spanish olive oil industry. It is promoted by Caja Rural of Jaén Foundation to recognize studies by researchers who are contributing to advances in scientific knowledge related to the olive. It includes aspects such as how the elaboration process of the olive oil contributes to the social, economic and environmental improvement of the country

Aspects like the quality and the adaptation of the methodology in the research to obtain valid results, and their relevance to people and their usefulness were key to select the winners. The jury was presided by Manuel Parras (rector of the Jaén University) and included Francisco Molina (secretary of the Caja Rural of Jaén Foundation), Mercedes Fernández (head of the technical and chemistry & standardization units of the International Olive Council), Gabriel Beltrán (in charge of the research department at IFAPA) and Carlos Piniña (representative of the Andalusian Agricultural Engineers College).

A conference with the title “Jaén´s Olive Oil and Sovena Group: Leading the Present and Building The Future,” was also conducted at the event by Luis Folqué.

(Source: http://www.oliveoiltimes.com)