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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.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2013-09-01 - 2018-08-31

Consumers have increasing demands for healthy, nutritious, and innovative food produced sustainably. Minor cereals can address these points, as well as contributing to feed and non-food markets. However, they have been hardly developed as commercial varieties, with no major investment to exploit genetic diversity in breeding programmes, and have low yields. There has been little research to optimise agronomy, food processing and marketing. HealthyMinorCereals will apply state of the art methods for genetic characterisation and phenotyping of >800 genotypes of 5 minor cereal species (spelt, rye, oat, einkorn and emmer). The project will select traits related to yield, nutritional quality and disease resistance, especially targeting important and emerging crop diseases, to identify well characterised genotypes for development of minor cereal varieties and cross breeding. Field experiments in 4 contrasting climatic zones in Europe will optimise agronomy within the organic and low-input sector, addressing gene x environment interactions, fertilization and potential benefits of agronomic management suited to improve yields in each country, and culminating with innovative onfarm trials. The project will investigate variation in nutritional quality of selected genotypes and analyse biological effects of seed extracts in human cell lines. Parameters of grain important for food manufacture will be investigated with optimisation of milling and other processes to maximise nutritional quality. Food industry partners will use selected minor cereal grains to develop new food products that will be demonstrated with production trials, standardisation and sensory analysis. A study on market potential will investigate factors involved in the development of minor cereals in various European markets and develop a framework for enhancing this potential. The project consortium has a major involvement of SME partners involved in breeding, farming, and food production with minor cereals.

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