Conservation and utilization of the diversity of sage species (Salvia spp.) traditional food preservatives and spices

Acronym: ConSage
Project ID: ERA 64
Funding including national funding and EC funding:
Total costs: 150,000 SEE-ERA.NET PLUS funding: 133,200
Project duration: 01.10.2010 / 30.09.2012

Sage (Salvia) species have a long history of culinary and effective medicinal use and have played important roles as food additives or as traditional herbal remedies for a variety of ailments. They are particularly rich in bioactive terpenes. Of particular interest are now the highly antioxidant polyphenol diterpene carnosic acid and its derivatives, present in high amounts in sage. Recent work from partners of the group, in the context of the SEE-ERA NET pilot project, successfully mapped the abundance and diversity of Salvia species in S. Greece and FYR Macedonia, ex-situ propagated several cultivars of S. fruticosa and S. officinalis; developed and applied novel molecular markers (SNPs) to assess genetic diversity; and characterized a novel sesquiterpene producing enzyme. The current research project will aim to capitalize on the accumulated tools and expertise in order to: expand the genotype collection by ex-situ propagation of Salvia sp. from other WB Countries (Albania, Croatia), 2) analyze the genetic and chemical diversity, emphasizing on antioxidant active diterpenes and polyphenolics, of the existing collection of genotypes and the newly collected plants and 3) Isolate and characterize novel Salvia sp. enzymes focusing on diterpene producing and modifying genes. Addressing the molecular and chemical diversity of these important medicinal and aromatic plant species of the region will not only contribute to conservation efforts for important genotypes but will also utilize the biodiversity to identify genes and enzymes producing bioactive substances of high added value.

Partners involved:

Institute of Agrobiotechnology/ CERTH
Institute of Agrobiotechnology/CERTH
6km Charilaou-Thermi Rd
57001 Thermi-Thessaloniki, Greece
Dr. Antonios Makris

Dpt. of Biotechnology, Univ. of Tirana
Faculty of Natural Sciences/Dpt Biotechnology
No. 5, Sami Frasheri
251 Tirana, Albania
Dr. Ariola Bacu

University Ss Cyril and Methodius, Faculty of Phar
Faculty of Pharmacy, Inst. of Pharmacognosy
17, Vodnjanska str.
1000 Skopje, FYR of Macedonia
Prof. Svetlana Kulevanova

University of Zagreb, Faculty of Agriculture
Department of Seed Science and Technology
Svetosimunska 25
10000 Zagreb, Croatia
Prof. Zlatko Satovic

Institute of Botany and Pharmacognosy
Veterinaerplatz 1
1210 Vienna, Austria
Prof. Johannes Novak