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Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2019-07-01 - 2022-06-30

European cereal production experiences an ongoing intensification on wheat and barley at the expense of minor cereals including einkorn, emmer, oat, rye and spelt. This specialisation leads to continuous loss in agricultural biodiversity and marginalisation of traditional land management systems. A diversification of cropping systems by minor cereals offer benefits with respect to agronomic management, grain processing, nutritional quality, health promotion and numerous ecosystem services. Enhanced plant breeding efforts are of strategic importance to improve the competitiveness of minor cereals in European agriculture. Rye is the only cross-pollinated small-grain cereal, which results in a unique complexity concerning the genetic improvement of rye and underlines the need for rye-specific research concepts. Plant architectural traits are important breeding targets to improve crops yield potential and food security. The overall goal of RYE-SUS is to develop, test and model gibberellin-sensitive semi-dwarf rye genotypes with optimized harvest index, improved lodging resistance, high yield potential and drought tolerance as well as minimised risk of ergot infestation for a sustainable intensification also in marginal production environments. To improve rye competitiveness in European agriculture, RYE-SUS aims to i) make use of hybrid breeding as a cutting edge technology of crop improvement and genome-based precision breeding to increase target-specific selection efficiency and accelerate breeding processes in rye, ii) develop new genotypes leading to improved lodging and drought tolerance, iii) proof the practical potential of genotypes with a novel plant architecture in target environments, which challenge rye cultivation by potentially growth-limiting factors such as drought, frost, or nutrient deficiencies, iv) minimize the risk of extremely toxic ergot alkaloids in the harvest, v) exploit natural genetic diversity in adaptive traits and develop new molecular technologies which support niche range expansion of highly productive rye hybrids in cold climate ecosystems, and vi) develop and exploit a crop model to simulate the growth and development of rye under potentially growth-limiting factors as a tool to support novel integrated pest and crop management methods and practices.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2018-05-01 - 2023-04-30

ECOBREED will improve the availability of seed and varieties suitable for organic and low- input production. Activities will focus on four crop species, selected for their potential contribution to increase competitiveness of the organic sector, i.e. common wheat, potato, soybean and common buckwheat. The project will develop (a) methods, strategies and infrastructures for organic breeding, (b) varieties with improved stress resistance, resource use efficiency and quality and (c) improved methods for the production of high quality organic seed. The objectives are: • To increase the availability of seeds and varieties for the organic and low-input sector • To identify traits and combinations of traits suited to organic and low-input production environment including high nutrient use efficiency and weed competitiveness/allelopathy • To increase breeding activities for organic and low-input crop production. ECOBREED will increase the competitiveness of the organic and low-input breeding and farming sectors by: • Identifying genetic and phenotypic variation in morphological, abiotic/biotic tolerance/resistance and nutritional quality traits that can be used in organic breeding • Evaluation of the potential of genetic variation for enhanced nutrient acquisition • Evaluation of the potential for increased weed competitiveness and control • Optimisation of seed production/multiplication via improved agronomic and seed treatment protocols • Developing efficient, ready-to-use farmer participatory breeding systems • Pre-breeding of elite varieties for improved agronomic performance, biotic/abiotic stress resistance/tolerance and nutritional quality • Development of training programmes in (a) genomic tools/techniques, (b) PPB and (c) use and application of improved phenotyping capabilities. • Ensuring optimum and rapid utilisation and exploitation of project deliverables and innovations by relevant industry and other user/stakeholder groups.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2015-11-01 - 2016-10-31

Barley is the fourth most important cereal crop and has the greatest agro-ecological range of any annual crop. It is an important food for humans and an important feed for a wide range of animals. Barley is an important crop in many parts of the world. The development of dual purpose varieties for food and feed holds great potential for alleviating hunger and poverty. Generally, barley provides an excellent balance of protein, energy, and fiber. The proposed research study should on the one hand compare diverse mutation methods (Gamma- and X-rays, and EMS treatments) in regard to induction of valuable food and feed quality traits. On the other hand existing barley mutants should be used to develop via rapid backcrossing isogenic lines with the desired characters into existing adapted varieties. The target mutant traits are: (1) hooded (Kap1) whereby the awns of barley are replaced by a hooded (a nutritious inverted spikelet) whereas the awns have no nutritional value and have negative feed effects as they cause lacerations in the mouths of animals, and (2) low-lignin content (rob1) as lignin inhibits the digestion of fodder.

Supervised Theses and Dissertations