Tenth graders from the Professional School of Food Technology in Plovdiv visited CPSBB as part of their practical education in Biotechnology. The researchers from CPSBB, Dr. Emil Vatov, Dr. Maria Benina, Dr. Alicja Wieteska, and Valentina Ivanova, guided the students through the laboratories, greenhouses, and plant growth chambers in the scientific campus, presenting some of the research projects of CPSBB and the state-of-the-art technical equipment of CPSBB. The research complex of CPSBB is funded by the Operational Programme “Science and Education for Smart Growth”
Main topic of the visit was the NatGenCrop project which will be conducted and coordinated by CPSBB for the next five years with funding from the HORIZON-WIDERA-2022-TALENTS-01 program of the European Union. The project aims at enhancing the yield and stress tolerance in tomato and pepper crops. A new department at CPSBB was established for the project, headed by the prominent scientist and ERA Chairs Holder Dr. Saleh Alseekh.
Under the proficient guidance of Dr. Alseekh, the scientific team of the department “Crop Quantitative Genetics” of CPSBB will identify genes that modulate fruit shape, size, and color, as well as stress tolerance in tomato and pepper. The impact of the findings will potentially spread to the studies on other crops, where the same or homologous molecular determinants might exert similar functions
Dr. Alicja Wieteska, Agronomist of the NatGenCrop project, guided the students through the greenhouses of CPSBB where hundreds of tomato and pepper varieties from Bulgaria and abroad had already been planted for the large-scale research project. She showed the visitors the experimental plants and explained in detail the further steps in the research which will be conducted under the project.
Dr. Maria Benina revealed the unique capacities of the liquid and gas mass spectrometry systems for metabolomic analysis at CPSBB’s laboratories. She also gave the students valuable theoretical information about the scientific research and data analysis, related to primary and secondary metabolites.
The researchers Dr. Emil Vatov and Valenitna Ivanova welcomed the students to the laboratories and plant growth chambers, explaining how the mass spectrometry system works, what bioreactors are used for, as well as how the technology equipment for PCR and gel electrophoresis contributes to the regular scientific work at CPSBB.
The visit was organized under the Memorandum of Cooperation which was signed by the Professional School of Food Technology and CPSBB in 2022.