Superior Achievement Awards

The Superior Achievement Award for the “Rapid response in protecting wheat from Ug99” for the team of the Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications of the joint FAO/IAEA Laboratories in Seibersdorf – The Laimer Lab (Plant Biotechnology Unit of DBT) congratulates its PhD student!

The team from the Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications and the Department of Technical Cooperation (Pierre J.L. LAGODA, Brian P. FORSTER, Bradley J. TILL, Abdelbagi MUKHTAR ALI GHANIM, Souleymane BADO, Mirta MATIJEVIC) developed a project in 2009 in response to an outbreak in countries in Africa and the Middle East.

The stem rust infects wheat, barley, oats, rye and other grasses and occurs in many varieties and forms. Since 1998 the variant Ug99 discovered in East Africa leads huge yields losses in wheat.

The aim of the project was to strengthen food security through mutation induction, screening for desired mutants and the rapid development of mutant varieties for farmers.
A key component of the project was the production of new mutant germplasm using nuclear technology at the Plant Breeding and Genetics Laboratory, leading to the production of thirteen wheat lines with major resistance to Ug99 in six countries. In 2014, two wheat varieties were released to farms in Kenya. The new mutant varieties were released in record time - within five years of the initial seed irradiation treatment.