BIOTECHNOLOGY LABORATORY OF NAGREF
The Agricultural Research Foundation (N.AG.RE.F) was founded in 1989 under
the law 1845/1989, functioning as a private entity of the wider public sector under the
supervision of the Ministy for Agriculture it supports and coordinates initiatives for R
& D guided by the Ministry of Agriculture, the agrigultural cooperatives, product
distributors, producer’s groups etc. New scientific knowledge and technical
innovations are being developed towards creating a dynamic and competitive
agriculture in the direction of environmental protection and capable of providing
excellent and inexpensive nutrition for the people.
The Institute of Technology of Agricultural Products (ITAP) was founded in 1933 by
the Greek Ministry for Agriculture as “Station for Agricultural Technology”. Since
1952, the Institute has been relocated in Lycovrissi, near Athens. Nowadays, it
belongs to the National Agricultural Research Foundation (NAGREF).
The Biotechnology Laboratory of NAGREF (ITAP) was founded in 2003 considering
biotechnology as the basic branch of applied biology with novel applications in
Agriculture, Industry, Food and Environment.
It includes two main sectors:
1. The Genetic Identification Laboratory (GIL). This is active in several
sectors such as detectionof organisms that are genetically modified, genetic
mapping and identification of plant varieties.
2. The Food Agricultural and Environmental Biotechnology Laboratory
(FAEBL). This has the following activities: Fermentation Technology,
Enzyme technology, impronement of food quality with biotechnological
methods, utilization agro-industrial waste, etc.
Genetic Identification Laboratory (GIL)
The GIL is the Laboratory of Genetic Identification of Agricultural Products
Microorganisms and Testing of Seeds of Sowing
The main activities are the following:
Detection of genetically modified organisms (GMO’s)
1. Providing services in qualitative and quantitative detection with techniques
ELISA and PCR in:
a) Seeds of sowing and plant propagation material
b) Animal feed.
2. Provides education to Greek and foreign researches in methologies of
detecting genetic modifications, which are approved by the E.U.
3. Gives advice in subjects which are related to the cultivation and circulation of
GMO’s in our country and harmonization of Greek legislation with directives
and Instrudtions of the E.U.
4. Development of new methods in detecting genetic modifications aiming at the
most effective and faster detection of GMO’s.
The detection of genetic modifications contributes to the protection of Greek farmers,
consumers and the environment in general. The cultivation and the coexistence of GM
seeds and plants with conventional cultivation should be under strict legislation in
Determination Mapping of genetic material – Variety identification
DNA sequencing and of genetic markers in:
• Arboraceous vegetables.
Use in programs for variety identification and improvement.
The mapping of genetic material and the determination of genetic markers are
significant elements for programmes of improvement in order to develop new
varieties. This will be achieved by:
• Improving the marketability of the product through the determination of its
• Contributing to the creation of a genetic material bank, which is necessary for
the establishment and maintenance of native biodiversity.
The GIL’s current projects aim to improve the commercial value of plant varities like
Vitis, by offering genetically certified products in the market. GIL also tries to find
direct application in the breeding programs fo the creation of varieties that will
maintain local dharacteristics and be in accordance to the demands of the EEC
Food, Agriculture and Environmental Biotechnology Laboratory
The main goals of FAEL include:
a) Fermentation and Enzyme Technology, Industrial Fermentations: submerged and
semi solid Fermentations under controlled conditions.
b) Production of metabolites:
Enzymes, Polysaccharides, Amino acids, etc.
c) New applications of Biotechnology :
Immobilization of enzyme and whole cells,
d) Biotechnology – Quality and Safety of foods – Novel products
Improvement of olive oil quality through biotechnological methods.
e) Mushroom Biotechnology – Medicinal Mushrooms – Therapeutic Polysaccharides:
Production of Lentinus edodes in the form of dry powder capsules.
f) Utilization agro-industrial residues, by-products and wastes through biotechological
• Management of olive oil mill wastes with the Fenton method and co-
composting with olive stone for the production of fertilizer and animal feed.
• Dephenolization of olive oil mill wastewater and recycling for irrigation.
• Protein enhancement of orange peel and of sugar beet pulp with solid state
fermentation for animal feed.
• Bioethanol production from Potato Peels Wastes.
R&D projects, undertaken in FAEL above 150.000 €.
The Laboratory of Biotechnology has successfully participated in National and
International projects such as:
1. Controlled atmosphere (CA) storage of fruits (Fruits NATO)
Budget: 174.000.000 GDR (510.000 €)
2. “Improving the safety and the quality of meat and meat products by modified
atmospheres and assessment by novel methods”. (FLAIR 89055)
Budget: 780.000 ECU (686.000 €).
3. “Modified atmospheres: a “new” approach for the safety and quality of fresh
fish and fish products”. (FAR project No. UP-2-515)
Budget: 200.000 ECU (176.000 €).
4. “Natural Antimicrobial Systems: new technologies for food safety, quality and
environmental protection”. (FLAIR 89057)
Budget: 160.000 ECU (140.000 €).
5. Quality improvement of olive oil by biotechnological methods (AIR-3-1355).
Budget: 169.200 ECU (148.000 €)
6. Integrated Approach to Sustainable Oil Production. (INASOOP)
Budget for NAGREF: 100.852 €