Coffee Biotechnology Lab

Coffee Lab
Coffee Biotech Group - Front row: Adalgisa Soares, Julieta Almeida, Milene Silvestrini, Fernanda Pinto, Crisitana Pezzopane and
Mirian Maluf. Back row: Bernadete Silvarolla, Julio Mistro, Marcos Brandalise, Antônio Baião.

Coffea arabica cultivars exhibiting red fruits
Coffea arabica cultivars exhibiting red fruits

The Coffee Biotechnology Lab is a small (but increasing) group interested in functional analysis of coffee genes related to agronomic characteristics. The group works in a close association with the IAC Coffee Breeding Program. During the past seventy years, this program has been responsible for the development of several Coffea arabica and Coffea canephora cultivars, which are planted extensively over Brazilian coffee regions. In addition to coffee cultivars, there are numerous populations under selection segregating for important agronomic traits, such as resistance to abiotic and biotic stress, flowering and fruit development timing, biochemical composition of fruits and seeds, and cup quality. Also, the IAC has a comprehensive in situ Germplasm Collection, which includes 22 different Coffea species.

The main limitation for coffee breeding is the very narrow genetic base of the species C. arabica. Major efforts concentrate on developing reliable tools for improving selection methods and also for introducing novel traits into coffee cultivars.

Coffea arabica cultivars exhibiting yellow fruits
Coffea arabica cultivars exhibiting yellow fruits

The Coffee Biotechnology Lab is responsible for the identification of molecular markers suitable for marker-assisted selection. RAPD, AFLP and microsattelites methods are used both to identify markers associated with agronomic traits and to evaluate overall genetic variability of the Coffea Germplasm Collection.

Recently, with the conclusion of the Coffee ESTs Genome sequencing, we have initiated functional analysis of specific genes related mainly to pathogen defense, flower development and caffeine biosynthesis. We use methodologies that integrate expression profile analysis, such as RT-PCR, differential display and microarrays, and traditional breeding methods. In collaboration with the Biology Institute/UNESP, we have a project to isolate tissue-specific promoters from roots, leaves, and fruits. Also, in collaboration with the IAC Cytogenetic Lab, we are mapping selected microsattelites markers through FISH analysis.

Genomic research in coffee species is still very modest. However, due to the economic and social importance of coffee culture and to the increasing interest of research groups on coffee issues, we believe (and hope) that in a short period this gap of genomic knowledge will be overcome.

Contact Information

Dr. Mirian Perez Maluf
Scientific Researcher / Embrapa
Coffee Center "Alcides Carvalho"
Agronomic Institute
Campinas - SP

IAC Coffee cultivars planted at the Experimental Station
IAC Coffee cultivars planted at the Experimental Station

Selected Publications

Mondego, J.M.C., Guerreiro Filho, O., Bengtson, M.H., Drummond, R.D., Felix, J. M., Duarte, M.P., Ramiro, D.A., Maluf, M.P., Sogayar, M.C., Menossi, M. (2005) "Isolation and characterization of Coffea genes induced during leaf coffee miner (Leucoptera coffeella) infestation ", Plant Science, in press.

Maluf, M.P., Silvestrini, Ruggiero, M., L. M. de C., Guerreiro-Filho, O., Colombo, C. A. (2005) "Genetic diversity of cultivated Coffea arabica lines assessed by RAPD, AFLP and SSR marker systems", Scientia Agricola, in press.

Silvarolla, M.B., Mazzafera, P., Fazuoli, L.C. (2004) A naturally decaffeinated arabica coffee. Nature, Inglaterra, v. 429, p. 826-826.

Mistro, J.C.; Fazuoli, L.C. ; Gonçalves, P.S. ; Guerreiro-Filho, O. (2004). Estimatives of genetic parameters and expected genetic gains with selection in robust coffee. Crop Breeding And Applied Biotechnology, Viçosa (MG), v. 4, n. 1, p. 86-91.

Guerreiro Filho, O.; Mazzafera, P. (2003). Caffeine and resistance of coffee to the berry borer Hypothenemus hampei (Coleoptera: Scolytidae). Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Davis, Califórnia, EUA, v. 51, n. 24, p. 6987-6991.

Aguiar, A.T., Maluf, M.P., Gallo, P.B., Fazuoli, L.C., Mori, E.E.M., Guerreiro-Filho, O. Technological and morphological characterization of coffee Commercial lines developed by IAC - Brazil (2001). In: Association Scientifique International du Café - 19 éme Colloque, Trieste. Association Scientifique International du Café. 2001. v. CD-ROM

Orsi, C. H.; Colombo, Carlos A; Guerreiro-Filho, Oliveiro; Maluf, Mirian Perez. Putative NBS-LRR resistance genes analogs (RGA) identified in different species of the genera Coffea. (2001) In: 47o. Congresso nacional de Genética, Águas de Lindóia. Sociedade Brasileira de Genética /Anais do 47o. Congresso Nacional de Genética.

Pinto-Maglio, C.A.F; Barbosa, RL; Cuellar, T.; Maluf, M.P.; Pierozzi, N.I.; Silvarolla, M.B.; Orsi, C.H. (2001) Chromosome characterization in Coffea arabica L. using cytomolecular techniques. In: 14th International Chromosome Conference, Wurzburg, Germany. Chromosome Research. v. 9, p. 100- 100.