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Nativ dudai april 2014 curriculum vitae personal

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G. Articles of symposia proceedings

  1. Putievsky, E., Ravid, U., Dudai, N., Katzir, I. Galambosi, B., Aflatuni, A.,

Pessala, R. and Hupala, I. (1994).

Environmental effects on components of some Mediterranean herbs grown in

different sites in Israel and in Finland.

Proceeding of NJF seminar no. 240, on the Production of Herbs, Spices and

Medicinal Plants in Nordic Countries, Mikkeli, Finland NJF 90: 59-61 (ISSN


  1. Putievsky, E., Dudai, N. and Ravid, U. (1996).

Cultivation, selection and conservation of oregano species in Israel.

In: Padulsi, S. (Ed.) Proceedings of the IPGRI International Workshop on

Oregano, (CIHEAM, Valenzano (Bari), Italy. pp. 103-110.

  1. Ziv-Raz, I., Lewinsohn, E., Dudai, N., Ravid, U., Putievsky, E., and Shoham, Y. (1997).
    Methyltransferases involved in the biosynthesis of methyl-chavicol and methyl-eugenol

In sweet basil.
Proceedings of the 28th International Symposium on Essential Oils, Eskisehir, Turkey
In K.H.C. Baser, N. Kirimer eds. Progress in Essential Oil Research, pp. 295-302.

  1. Joel, M.D., Putievsky, N, Ariano, L., Ravid, U., Putievsky, E. and Dudai, N.


Allelopathic prevention of weed germination and Cuscuta parasitism.

In: Praczyk, T. (Ed.) Proceedings of the 10th Symposium of the European

Weed Soc. (EWRS), Poznen, Poland, pp. 54.

  1. Lewinsohn, E., Dudai. N., Larkov, O., Ziv-Raz, I., Gross, M., Tadmor, Y.,

Friedman, J., Shoham, Y., Ravid, U., Pichersky, E. and Putievsky, E. (2001).

O-methyltransferases involved in the formation of t-anethole, estragole, and

methyl eugenol in wild and cultivated aromatic plants.
In: Proceedings of The International Workshop on Agricultural and Quality

Aspects of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, May 2001, Adana, Turkey (39-54).

  1. Ravid, U., Dudai. N., Lewinsohn, E., Putievsky, E., Larkov, O. and Freiman, L.


Advanced analytical techniques for the analysis of chiral aroma compounds.

In: Proceedings of The International Workshop on Agricultural and Quality

Aspects of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, May 2001, Adana, Turkey (273-


  1. Dudai, N., Chaimovitsh, D., Reuveni, R., Ravid, R., Larkov, O.and Putievsky, E.


Breeding of sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum) resistant to Fusarium wilt

caused by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. Basilicum.

Journal of Herbs, Spices and Medicinal Plants, 9: 45-51.

  1. Dudai, N. and Ben Hur, M. (2009).

Using vetiver (vetiveria zizaniodes) as a soil conservation technique under

mediterranean conditions.

Proceedings of the International Symposiom on Floods and Modern Methods of

Control Measures. pp. 123-132.

  1. Dudai, N. (2011).

Essential oils as allelochemicals and their potential use as bioherbicides

Proceedings of the Second International Seminar of Chinese Agricultural Sage


NATIV DUDAI January 2014


An overview

My research focuses on medicinal and aromatic plants (MAP): their biodiversity, physiology, production and the bio-activity of their secondary metabolites. Studying the factors affecting the essential oil content and composition in aromatic plants has enabled us to optimize the production of essential oil. I have organized a large live germplasm collection with a computerized database that enables tracking of various parameters in various accessions. Based on all of this I have been involved in the introduction of MAP; the domestication of local wild plants; and the selection, breeding and adaptation of agricultural practices. Systematic screening yielded the discovery of Salvia sclarea, that is usually used for essential oil production or sclareol extraction (articles A#7,8), as a novel source of seed oil production rich in omega-3- linolenic acid (Patent, see p 30). Studying the chemical variation of rosemary led to the selection of new varieties containing a high level of carnosic acid for antioxidant extraction (article A#45,50,56; cultivars #18,19,20). One of my main projects is the research and breeding of basil. I have devoted considerable effort to the isolation and introgression of Fusarium wilt resistance to horticulturally elite sweet basil varieties. The results of my research have contributed greatly to the production of fresh herbs in Israel, enabling it to expand to 150 million USD annually. Some of these new varieties, such as ‘Nufar’, Nirit (“Aroma 2” and Perrie, are now available from seed companies internationally and are almost the only basil varieties that are cultivated in Israel. The observations in the experimental fields led me to investigate the alleopathic effect of the aromatic plants as is elaborated below on p. 56-57.

  1. General contribution to agricultural sciences

Research on factors affecting content and composition of essential oil in aromatic plants:  The focus of the research was to observe the effect of developmental and environmental conditions on the content and composition of secondary metabolites in several MAP (articles A #40,41,48,50,56). My approach was to identify factors influencing the content and composition of volatiles and to characterize each one of them separately; and also to study their interactions. Beside the environmental factors, the leaf age (articles A#24,26,28,62) and flowering process (articles A#5, 9) have an impact on the levels and the composition of essential oils in the leaves. The influences could also be indirect. For instance, flowering decreases the concentration of the essential oils in leaves, although the environmental conditions that promote flowering (article A# 5) tend to increase the level of the essential oils in the leaf. Actually, the total levels and composition of the essential oils are a result of the balance between these opposing influences (articles A#9).  I reviewed these effects in two chapters in books (D#1,4). I was also involved in some studies on the anatomy of the essential oil trichomes in various species (articles A#3,11,12,18).

Research on MAP biodiversity: We created a large living collection of species and varieties of MAP, from Israel and from other countries, during years of introduction and breeding projects at the Newe Ya'ar Research Center. I have organized and compiled these collections as a germplasm bank, with a computerized database, that enables tracking of various parameters in various accessions. This germplasm bank was added to the "Israel Gene Bank" as a MAP section, and all of the data are, subsequently, accessible to the public. This ever-expanding collection offers the opportunity to carry out studies on plant growth under typical local conditions and also to observe genetic variation among species and varieties.  The collection is used additionally as a part of the introduction process as well as a base for selection by screening of various traits, such as desirable natural products, bio-activity or adaptation of cultural practices. The introduction of various MAP plants from the world to Israel has allowed the study of their genetic relationships. The collection now contains more than 1200 accessions belonging to 82 species. A primary emphasis is on the preservation of the germplasm as living clones, so that after any screening one can go back to a desired genotype. This system is continuously expanding by systematic collection projects of wild plants with full representation of their genetic diversity in Israel. Israel is a junction of several radically different phyto-geographical regions, which results in a wide biodiversity in its small area. Because Israel contains many endemic species, which for the most part have never been investigated, its flora is very interesting scientifically. In recent years I was involved in studying local native plants, such as Origanum dayi, Origanum ramonense, Origanum syriacum, Micromeria fruticosa, Mentha longifolia, Nepeta spp., Foeniculum vulgare, Artemisia Sp. Portulaca oleracea, Chiliadenus iphionoides, Mentha longifolia, (A#39,44,45,46,58,61,66 ;C# 7;D#10.)

Biological activities of secondary metabolites from MAP: Although essential oils have been known as inhibitors of germination since the early 1920s, their mode of action is still a matter of speculation. I initiated a study aimed at the characterization of the effects of several essential oils and their components on seed germination by developing a highly specific method to assess their toxicity in seeds (article A#20 has been cited 111 times). We found that essential oils and their components are absorbed from the gaseous phase, accumulate mainly in the embryos and are already effective a few hours after their application (D #2). I also found that due to enzymatic activity present in the seeds and in the microflora (especially bacteria) that surround them, essential oils can be metabolized and their composition changed (A#23,C#4,D#2). One of the major inhibitors is citral. This finding led us to test its activity against cancer, and we found that citral induces apoptosis in tumor cell lines by the activation of the enzyme Caspase – 3 (A#33). In a further work I demonstrated the mechanism of allelopathy in vivo, incurred by residues of aromatic plants in the soil. There are many previous studies that have demonstrated activity of “allelochemicals” in vitro in the laboratory, based on observations of suspected allelopathic effects in nature.  However, in my study I showed that volatile compounds are released in vivo from the plant material and are taken up by seeds, inhibiting their germination. I also investigated the metabolism and degradation of the volatiles in different soils and the effect of the soil microflora on this process (A#49). In a new study, in collaboration with Dr. E. Sadot and Prof. B. Rubin, we found that exposure of plants to citral or some of its derivatives, at the gaseous phase, disrupted microtubules of Arabidopsis seedlings, wheat roots and BY2 cells, whereas actin filaments and the plasma membrane remained intact. These findings lead us to hypothesize a primary mode of action of the allelopathic effect of essential oils. A paper on this study has been published in The Plant Journal and Plant Biology(A#54,64). I was invited to give lectures about this topic in 2007, 2008, 2009 2011 and 2012 in international conferences in the world.

In addition, I am involved in the study of aspects of the production and bio-activity of MAP metabolites, such as antioxidant and antimicrobial activity (A#40,45,50,56, 57,60; C#7,8), alkaloids in Catha edulis (A#41,47) anticancer activity (A#67) and effects on fungi (A#43).

2. Achievements in applied research specifying major contributions to agriculture in Israel and abroad.

Development of agrotechniques for the profitable cultivation of fresh herbs:

I lead the research programs addressing problems concerning the growth of aromatic crops for the fresh herb export market. Experiments were conducted in many species such as thyme, oregano, marjoram, basil, mint, melissa, sage, coriander, chervil, lovage and dill (A#40,48,50,55,59,62,65;C#9,D9#9, F#89-98). The results of these experiments contributed to establish and optimize the cultivation of fresh herbs in Israel. The export of fresh herbs is now about 120 million USD a year. This work has been performed with the aid of extension specialists and local researchers in each region of Israel. In addition, during the last 6 years I have led some projects to develop new crops in Israel, such as Stevia (F#96); essential-oil production (A#50,55;F#88, 99); clary sage as a novel source of seed oil production rich in omega-3- linolenic acid (Patent) and rosemary for antioxidant production (E#18,19,20). All of these projects are already in their first stages of commercialization. Recently (2012) I got the Agritech Award for my contribution to the agriculture.

Research and breeding of sweet basil: The major fresh herb crop for export in Israel is sweet basil. In the early 1990s, the varieties that were grown in Israel were those used for the dry herb market and were not suitable for the fresh market, mainly due to large undesirable leaves and the high sensitivity to diseases during the winter under greenhouse conditions.  In the first stage, I initiated a program to develop varieties suitable for the fresh market. This included acceptable appearance, relatively small leaves and a longer shelf-life (D #3).  Fusarium wilt resistance: Fusarium wilt became one of the major limiting factors for the production of fresh basil, due to monoculture practices and the ban on the use of methyl bromide. From my work, the first Fusarium wilt resistant hybrid cultivar (Nufar) was developed (A#17). Later, we studied the mode of the inheritance of Fusarium wilt resistance in sweet basil. We found that the resistance is a dominant Mendelian trait, and have developed methodology for the inclusion of the resistance trait into existing cultivars by conventional breeding (A#37). As the market in Europe prefers the Genovese-type basil, with its unique aroma and smaller leaves, I developed Fusarium wilt resistant varieties of this type and released three varieties: ‘Perrie’, ‘Hagar’ and ‘Nirit’ (D #3). The Perrie is the main grown cultivar in Israel, exported in volume of more then 40 million USD per year, The Nufar, Hagar ("Aroma 1") and Nirit ("Aroma2") seeds are produced by Genesis seeds Co. and sold worldwide mainly for the professional growers market. The cultivars Cardinal and Tamar are sold worldwide as ornamental plants for gardening.

One more important parameter of basil is the tolerance to chilling, mainly in cold storage. I have studied in collaboration the physiology of leaf browning under low temperatures associated with the activity of the enzyme polyphenole-oxidase and the phenols level (A#40). A breeding program based on this study yielded some new tolerant genotypes that will be released next year. 

Our experience shows that when the wild types are included in the breeding of basil, change in its aroma quality may occur by changing the composition of the essential oil (D #8). During the last four years I have studied the mode of inheritance of the aroma factors of basil, by crossing various chemotypes (C#10 and another paper in preparation). Crossing the ornamental cultivar “Cardinal” with “Perrie” yielded F2 segragants with huge chemical, morphological and color variation (C#10.). This enabled us to select a series of new ornamental cultivars (registered cultivars #21-27).  This work led me to to use this plant material to set a gene map of basil (in progress).
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