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Launch of the CHIC project


Chicory as a multipurpose crop for dietary fibre and medicinal terpenes


CHIC is a research and innovation project supported through the EU Horizon 2020 funding programme.

The €7.3 million project supports the establishment of a responsible innovation pathway for the development and application of New Plant Breeding Techniques (NPBTs) for chicory as a multipurpose crop for the production of high value consumer products, in line with societal needs and concerns.

The consortium includes SMEs, an industrial partner, non-profit organizations and
research institutes from 11 European countries and one from New Zealand.

Root chicory (Cichorium intybus L.) is an under-utilized crop. It is currently used for the commercial production of inulin, which is added to many food products as a dietary fibre and sweetener.  

The CHIC project aims to develop chicory varieties that can be used to produce dietary fibre with enhanced prebiotic effects to promote gut health. At the same time, given its biosynthetic capacity, high yields and low agronomic requirements, chicory has significant potential as a versatile production host in molecular farming for the production of many additional health-related products with benefits for consumers. CHIC also aims to harness this potential to cultivate chicory for the extraction of other types of health-related compounds (terpenes) as potential lead molecules for drug development. 

To achieve this, new chicory varieties must be developed. However, chicory breeding is currently exceptionally time-consuming. Since it is an obligatory outcrossing species, no true varieties can be obtained, and germplasm is maintained by in vitro propagation.  

Therefore, chicory is a highly relevant case where new plant breeding technologies (considered in the NPBT set)1 can make a real difference.  

Some EU member states and stakeholder groups are increasingly concerned about the impact of these technologies on the safety of its daily food and the integrity of the environment. Moreover, a clear EU regulation or policy on new plant breeding technologies is still pending. This has led to a situation where the industry is hesitant to adopt novel developments, and potentially beneficial innovations do not reach consumers.  

1 https://ec.europa.eu/food/plant/gmo/modern_biotech_en  and  http://ftp.jrc.es/EURdoc/JRC63971.pdf  

CHIC explores the interactions between technological potential and societal acceptance of modern plant breeding 

By developing and implementing a set of new plant breeding technologies, CHIC will adapt the biosynthesis and architecture of root chicory. This will strengthen chicory as a production system for high-quality dietary fibres and establish it as source of bioactive terpenes.

The consortium will evaluate the technological performance of these new plant breeding technologies, as well as the safety, environmental, regulatory, socio-economic and broader societal issues associated with them.   

CHIC will strive to ensure responsible innovation and to raise public awareness by involving stakeholders and considering their needs and concerns in all phases of the project. 

Participants 

The CHIC consortium consists of 17 participants from 11 European countries and one international participant:  

Research institutes
Wageningen University & Research
Wageningen University and Wageningen Research
(Netherlands)
-Project Coordinator- 
www.wur.eu
Université des Sciences et Technologies de Lille
(France)
eep.univ-lille.fr
Leibniz - Institut fur Pflanzenbiochemie
(Germany) 
www.ipb-halle.de/en
The New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research Limited
(New Zealand)
www.plantandfood.co.nz
 Fondazione Edmund Mach
(Italy) 
www.fmach.it
Teknologian tutkimuskeskus VTT Oy
(Finland) 
www.vtt.fi
Institut za Biološka istraživanja “Siniša Stanković0
(Serbia)
www.ibiss.bg.ac.rs/index.php/sr-yu
Julius Kühn-Institut
Bundesforschungsinstitut für Kulturpflanzen
(Germany) 
www.julius-kuehn.de
Graz University of Technology
(Austria) 
www.tugraz.at
Joanneum Research
Forschungsgesellschaft mbH
(Austria)
www.joanneum.at
SMEs
iBET 
Instituto de Biologia Experimental e Tecnológica
(Portugal)
www.ibet.pt 
KeyGene
(Netherlands)
www.keygene.com
IDConsortium
(Spain)
www.idconsortium.es
Large industry

Sensus b.v.
(Netherlands)
www.inspiredbyinulin.com

Other private and public non-profit organizations
Fundacja: Art & Science Synergy Foundation
(Poland)
www.artscience-node.com
European Plant Science Organization
(Belgium)
www.epsoweb.org

Programme: H2020, Call BIOTEC07-2017 New Plant Breeding Techniques (NPBT) in molecular farming: Multipurpose crops for industrial bioproducts 
Project full name: Chicory as a multipurpose crop for dietary fibre and medicinal terpenes
Acronym: CHIC 
Duration: 54 months 
Total budget: € 7.3 million 
Consortium: 17 participants from 11 European countries and one from New Zealand. Participants represent hree SMEs and one large industrial partner, 11 academic participants and two non-profit organizations 
Website: www.chicproject.eu
CHIC project coordinator: Dirk Bosch dirk.bosch@wur.nl
CHIC dissemination and communications manager: Macarena Sanz msanz@idconsortium.es



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