From June 3 to 5, 2019, the ISF World Seed Congress was held in Nice with over 1,500 assistants from around the world.

The NEURICE project was attended by two of its partners, the French Rice Center and Cirad, who presented a poster explaining the problems of the French Camargue region and the interest of the new varieties of salt-tolerant rice that develops the NEURICE project.

The Camargue is a region of France that has 150,000 ha of natural and cultivated areas in the delta that forms the river Rhône. Soil salinity is a problem for crops in the area because the altitude is very low (from 0 to 4 m), it has a negative water balance (-400 mm on average), and when the river carries a low flow, the water of the sea can penetrate until the stations of pumping of water for the crops. Effects that are accentuated and will also be associated with climate change.

It is because of this problem of salinity that the NEURICE project is working on the development of new varieties adapted to saline solids and thus help to maintain the balance of the Camargue’s ecosystem.

The NEURICE project is working to obtain advanced lines with improved salinity tolerance by introgressing Saltol (a chromosome segment carrying a salt tolerance gene from the highly salt tolerant Asian variety FL478), into European elite varieties.

The NEURICE project has developed these new varieties using innovative markers (KASPAR and Genotyping By Sequencing) for Saltol and elite cultivar background assisted selection and, actually, they are been tested in the field in Spain, France and Italy in order to see their behaviour like future rice commercial lines.