Cold stress is by far the most important environmental factor affecting crop growth and yields and limiting spatial distribution of economically important crops. In Turkey, growth and production of most crops are restricted to non frost period between spring and autumn. During Autumn-winter period production of vegetables is carried out under green house conditions and with cold tolerant crops in the field on coastal area in the west and in the south including Antalya region. Under the effect of global warming prevailing, higher winter temperatures seem to favour the production of off-season crops in the coastal areas with warmer winter temperatures. Introduction of niche/new crops may be also be regarded for these the coastal areas. However, increasing chilling (< 10 oC) and/or freezing (<0 oC) temperatures prevailing during this period require extensive germplasm assessment and breeding programs for sustainable agricultural production under these conditions. We are working on screening germplasm for chilling and frost tolerance involving genotyping, phenotyping and molecular analysis. Recently we have successfully completed 3.5 years COST project that included screening over 900 Phaseolus bean accessions for chilling and frost tolerance, investigation of Cold Responsive (COR) genes and metabolites conferring cold tolerance. This work determined chilling and frost tolerant accessions and a subsequent breeding program is under way to develop chilling and frost tolerant advanced lines for commercial production under green house and in the field conditions. A new attempt to screen local tomato lines for cold stress is launched. Expertise available at the department covering breeding, molecular biology, chemistry, plant physiology and phenotyping facilitate professional performance of such projects. Plant genetic resources laboratory with deposition of rich collection of many crops at the department, fully equipped molecular biology laboratory, functional cold testing facility recently established, green house facilities and experimental farm available make a strong infrastructure for this type of studies. We would offer to be part of similar project and do our best to perform all stages of development and execution of similar projects.
Situated at the hearth of off-season and green house vegetable production in Antalya, as part of a strong Faculty of Agriculture, The Department of Agricultural Biotechnology has necessary infrastructure and expertise in order to conduct similar projects. It offers its capacity to develop cultivars with conventional and molecular methods with strong agenda of investigation and exploitation of local plant genetic resources. The department has got facilities of plant biotechnology labs, green house and field testing grounds.