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Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2022-01-01 - 2022-12-31

To strengthen the BOKU Core Facilities "Bioactive Molecules: Screening and Analysis" (BMOSA) and "Analysis of Lignocellulosics" (ALICE), an ERDF project for the acquisition of new high-performance infrastructure is being submitted to the Federal State of Lower Austria as part of the REACT-EU initiative. The planned purchases in the field of instrumental analytics will ensure that the two core facilities at the Campus Technopol Tulln site can continue to be operated in accordance with state-of-the-art technology in the future. In this way, access to the most modern large-scale equipment infrastructure can be guaranteed for a wide range of users both within BOKU and for third parties in the coming years. The planned investments ensure the continuous further development of the respective working- and research areas of BOKU and thus also sustainably strengthen the Campus Technopol Tulln as a research location.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2022-01-01 - 2025-01-08

Factors determining climate change such as the hot and dry weather conditions seen in the last three cropping seasons in Europe pose a major challenge for small-grain cereal farmers. Changing weather patterns with extremes such as heat and cold waves, unevenly distributed and unpredictable patterns of precipitation are expected to become more frequent in the foreseeable future. Longer period of warm temperatures during the cropping season will result in increasing pest population growth, and therefore a raising importance of insect-transmitted viruses in small-grain cereals. Projections indicate that the productivity of barley and durum wheat in farmers´ fields will be reduced by the increasing magnitude and frequency of these factors. The optimization of yield potential under abiotic stresses represents thus a crucial goal in cereal breeding programs. More frequent periods of high temperatures in autumn as well as mild winter temperatures by climate change will likewise increase the importance to genetically improve the reliance of small-grain cereals like barley and durum against pests and diseases. Barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV) and Wheat dwarf virus (WDV) are amongst the most economically relevant and devastating pathogens in these two crops. BYDV and WDV are transmitted by aphids and leafhoppers, and infections are usually prevented by the application of insecticides. Neonicotinoid seed treatment has however been prohibited by the European Commission due to negative effects on bees, and pyrethroid applications cause the evolution of insecticide resistant aphid and leafhopper populations. The most effective and ecologically sustainable approach is the screening for virus resistant breeding lines and cultivars. Omics-based methods like genomic prediction have opened-up new avenues for barley and durum research and breeding. Recent advances in high-throughput phenotyping (HTP) technologies have furthermore raised the interest in conducting a phenomic selection in combination with genomic selection. The application of HTP for predicting complex traits like grain yield remains though challenging, and needs further refinement before a routine implementation into breeding programs can be realized. The project aims thus to implement and enhance omics-based breeding methods for genetically improving the resistance against the BYDV and WDV complex in barley and durum wheat. Extensive yield data collected in two cereal breeding programs will complement newly collected virus resistance data for implementing improved genomic prediction models. This endeavour will be enabled by an extensive collaboration between several academic and industrial partners from Lower Austria. The developed genomic prediction models and HTP methods will finally be combined to establish an integrated breeding strategy for conducting a routine selection for virus resistance and superior yielding barley and durum wheat cultivars under varying climatic conditions.

Supervised Theses and Dissertations