Expo 2015 will be held in Milan, Italy from 1 May to 31 October of this year. The theme is “Feeding the Planet – Energy for Life”. 148 nations and international organisations have already confirmed their participation and, over the six months of the world fair, will be presenting projects about food and the sustainable and intelligent management of nature, the source of food. Twenty million visitors are expected to attend, with international visitors accounting for 30% of the total.
Saxony-Anhalt will be at the German Pavilion with a range of projects in the exhibition, a federal state station and the “federal state” days from 27 to 31 May. Visitors will discover the region as an innovative centre of business and research that has contributed many ideas to the central theme of the Expo.
The crop bank or gene bank at IPK Gatersleben is just one of the projects from Saxony-Anhalt to be presented at the EXPO. The gene bank collects, conserves, characterises, evaluates and documents plant genetic resources. With 151,002 samples of 3,212 species and 776 genuses, the bank is one of the largest facilities of its kind in the world and makes a major contribution to preventing crop plant extinction. The gene bank is an international information centre for the taxonomy of cultivated plants, and possesses extensive reference collections alongside its collections of viable specimens.
More information about the IPK Gatersleben gene bank is available here.
Crop research at the Julius Kühn-Institut based in Quedlinburg will also be part of the exhibition at the German Pavilion.
The Julius Kühn-Institut (JKI), the German Federal Research Centre for Cultivated Plants, runs agricultural research programmes for the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agricultural at sixteen institutes at ten different sites in Germany. Work focuses on keeping our cultivated plants healthy. Plant diseases, pests and the genetic makeup of the plants are all at the centre of research. Breeding research at the JKI helps us to breed varieties that are less susceptible to disease or more tolerant of stress. The search for the genetic basis of required characteristics is a key area of research at the main JKI site in Quedlinburg. -Plant genetics, breeding research and evaluation of plant genetic resources in arable crops and horticulture -Expertise on molecular biology studies of host-pathogen interactions and plant growth under abiotic stress -Expertise on molecular and biochemical analytical procedures -Bioinformatics expertise (sequence analysis, image analysis and biostatistics) - Understanding biotechnological procedures (gene transfer, genome editing, crop plant transformation processes).
More information on cultivated plant research at the Julius Kühn-Institut in Quedlinburg is available here.
In the field of water, the MOBICOS project run by the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research in Magdeburg will also be on show at the German Pavilion. A MOBICOS container on the Elbe in Magdeburg, Germany. Over the next few years, scientists from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) will be using these mobile laboratories to investigate the effects on bodies of running water such as the Elbe of changes in the climate and in land use. The container acts as a bypass, through which natural river water is pumped and tested under controlled conditions. Water research in the flexible box combines controlled laboratory experiment and natural field study.
More information on the MOBICOS project at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research in Magdeburg is available here.
Fotos: André Künzelmann, UFZ
Another project from Saxony-Anhalt to be presented in Milan at the water exhibition is the WWF “Mittlere Elbe” conservation project. Work has been underway since 2001 to create a continuous area of alluvial forest between the mouth of the Mulde and the mouth of the Saale by 2018, covering a c. 5,828 hectares. Measures being implemented include the creation of additional flood plains, reforestation of the flood plains with flood-tolerant species of tree, and repairing the flood channels. The aim is to preserve large and extremely valuable habitats for animals and plants at risk of extinction. The project area is in the Middle Elbe biosphere reserve, part of the Flusslandschaft Elbe riverscape biosphere reserve recognised by UNESCO in 1997, and stretches right through Saxony-Anhalt along 303 kilometres of the River Elbe.
More information on the WWF “Mittlere Elbe” middle Elbe conservation project is available here: