Project: ALfalfa for sustainable Livestock farming systems: Improve alfalfa -rhizobia symbiosis and New feeding strategy based on ecological leftovers

Acronym ALL-IN
Project Topic The development of Local Sustainable Food Societies is a key factor to face emerging issues linked to pollution and climate change. The primary goals of ALL-IN are the increment of alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) crops yield and the formulation of a balanced diet for livestock based on alfalfa and integrated with local by-products. Medicago species are cultivated at different latitudes thanks to their versatility (e.g. drought and disease resistance); considering the forecasted increment of temperature, selection of rhizobia adapted to more stressful conditions (e.g. high salt concentration) is fundamental to improve inoculant efficiency. Inoculation of alfalfa seeds with symbiotic rhizobia (i.e. Sinorhizobium meliloti) increases its yield, however laboratory symbiotic bacteria may not be able to compete with indigenous rhizobia. The first aim of the project is discovering which are the genomic determinants in strains of S. meliloti responsible for high competitive phenotypes. Sinorhizobium strains showing high resistance to salt stress, symbiotic efficiency (nitrogen fixation rate) and competitiveness (detected on the basis of genomic signature previously investigated) will be selected for the formulation of elite inoculants. Increase alfalfa production will allow using it as a central component for livestock feeding. The feeding strategy is based on the principle of “ecological leftovers”. Diets will be designed to optimize the reuse of bio-wastes (scraps and harvest residuals of local by-products) especially those obtained from olive oil manufacturing (i.e. pomace). The addition of specific amounts of olive oil pomace will allow modulating rumen metabolism and possibly reducing methane emission. Milk yield and composition and meat production from ewes fed the experimental diets will be analysed. Variation in rumen metabolism will be monitored biochemically and by microbiota analysis.
Network CORE Organic Cofund
Call CORE Organic & SUSFOOD Joint Call 2019

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 University of Florence = Italy
3 University of Pisa = Italy
4 University of Oran 1 = Algeria
5 University Moulay Ismail = Morocco