`Argentina's Germplasm Bank Supports Mission to Preserve Olive Cultivars - Olive Oil Times

Argentina's Germplasm Bank Supports Mission to Preserve Olive Cultivars

By Paolo DeAndreis
Feb. 6, 2023 08:51 UTC

The global ini­tia­tive launched by the International Olive Council (IOC) to pre­serve mul­ti­ple olive cul­ti­vars’ unique germplasm, pro­tect bio­di­ver­sity and fos­ter olive research has now expanded to Argentina.

In a note, IOC announced that the olive plant col­lec­tion estab­lished at the Experimental Agricultural Facility of San Juan in Argentina had become South America’s only inter­na­tional germplasm bank.

Argentina’s col­lec­tion is part of the National Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA), and it is main­tained in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the National Council for Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET).

This recog­ni­tion was granted after a spe­cific mis­sion to this coun­try to ver­ify the accom­plish­ment of the needed require­ments took place. This mis­sion was attended by Lhassane Sikaoui, Head of the olive grow­ing, olive oil tech­nol­ogy and envi­ron­ment Unit of the IOC, and by Melek Veral, IOC expert and Head of the International Olive Collection of Izmir, Turkey,” IOC noted.

Olive germplasm banks play a cru­cial role in enabling the cor­rect clas­si­fi­ca­tion of olive tree cul­ti­vars. As olive farm­ing has spread to new coun­tries and farm­ing areas, the need for accu­rate clas­si­fi­ca­tion of the plants has occurred.


Germplasm refers to the genetic mate­r­ial that can be used for the improve­ment or preser­va­tion of plants or ani­mals. It includes the entire genetic infor­ma­tion of an organ­ism, such as its genes, chro­mo­somes, and DNA. Germplasm is stored in seed banks, gene banks, and other facil­i­ties to con­serve and use it for research and breed­ing pur­poses. This genetic mate­r­ial can be used to cre­ate new plant and ani­mal vari­eties, to pre­serve endan­gered species, or to improve crops and live­stock.

On top of that, the 21 germplasm banks that make up the IOC net­work cer­tify and ver­ify the health sta­tus of any plant mate­r­ial exchanged between mem­ber banks.

Thanks to the net­work, research projects have been launched to authen­ti­cate and ensure the health of the most prop­a­gated cul­ti­vars in olive-grow­ing coun­tries.

Today’s announce­ment does not come as a sur­prise. Last May, IOC rep­re­sen­ta­tives, local author­i­ties and pro­mot­ers of the ini­tia­tive took part in a series of meet­ings paving the way for Argentinas for­mal entry into the germplasm bank net­work.

The other three inter­na­tional IOC banks are located in Córdoba, Spain; Marrakech, Morocco; and Izmir, Turkey.


Related Articles