LEAF promotes a balanced combination of research on basic disciplines and applied sciences contributing to a sustainable Agro-Food value chain with high performance. Our research is planned within the frame of three complementary Research Groups, each representing a main scientific area, which will form the backbone of the research strategy. The flags of LEAF are four Thematic Lines (TLs), interconnecting different scientific areas and skills from the research groups, thus promoting synergies within and beyond LEAF. These TLs address relevant issues (Sustainable Grape & Wine production; Olive & Olive Oil Chain; Tropical Agriculture & Agri-Food value chains; Green & Blue Infrastructures) where LEAF can excel beyond any other existing research unit in Portugal. Within each Group, specific activities on cutting-edge topics will be maintained and when appropriate results will lead to new products or processes and progressively into more comprehensive and inclusive programmes. Thus, the TLs are not static, but dynamic, allowing adjustments according to research results and interactions with stakeholders.
Our main research goals are:

  • to develop multidisciplinary research on the adaptation of agriculture to Climate Change & Resource Scarcity and contribute to mitigate their impacts.
  • to improve crop and pest management practices for sustainable crop production;
  • to contribute to a sustainable agriculture, with an emphasis on the quality and best management of soils and water, and on the efficient use of organic by-products from industry and municipalities to support recycling of carbon, nitrogen and other plant nutrients, as soil amendments or to produce bio-energy;
  • to seek an integrated strategy to maintain crop biodiversity in cultivated landscapes with evaluation and characterization of biodiversity within crops (fruits, grapevine, vegetables and cereals) and wild species, in which Portugal is exceptionally rich;
  • to apply conservation strategies which anticipate shifts on both critical and endangered plants and habitats;
  • to manage Green & Blue infrastructures to sustain ecosystem functions;
  • to unravel gene networks and mechanisms that coordinately act to determine tolerance or sensitivity to biotic and abiotic stress conditions at the whole-plant level, in order to evaluate crops plasticity in relation to yield and quality;
  • to develop new processes in food production to obtain new functional foods and products which are sustainable, healthy, convenient, safe, economic, sensory acceptable, and with extended shelf-life
  • to seek for sustainable, safe and healthy animal products that minimize environmental impacts;
  • to create sustainable agro-food value chains of selected clusters with a strong potential in the Portuguese economy, and model agricultural products and derived food matrices;
crops rotation
soils and water