Agriculture World

A New Technology Developed to Speed up Development of More Resilient Crops

A research collaboration headed by The University of Western Australia has invented a new technique that expedites the development of seeds, producing better quality and more abundant pulse crops.

The researchers from UWA’s Centre for Plant Genetics and Breeding developed the pulse-breeding platform to allow seeds to develop faster by rapidly accelerating the plant life cycle.

Australia produces about 2.25 million tonnes of pulses per annum, however changes in the production environment like climate, new pests, water shortages and higher farming costs have led to pulse breeders looking for better strategies to ensure their crop material can adapt to changing conditions.

The accelerated-Single-Seed-Descent platform is the first of its kind that makes use of LED technology to encourage the plants to flower quickly and develop their seeds faster. The resultant crops are more resilient, need fewer chemical treatments & have reduced running costs.

Dr Janine Croser from UWA’s Centre for Plant Genetics and Breeding, Lead researcher said that the research was carried out in response to feedback from farmers about practical problems on the land.

“As we move into more instability in our regions, we will be able to respond more quickly to emerging issues and address these through our breeding platforms,” Dr Janine said.

UWA researcher Dr Federico Ribalta said the team had extended the research to investigate the development of key breeding populations for Australian grown legumes.

“Working in close collaboration with breeders means that there is a faster release of new varieties for farmers,” Dr Ribalta said.

This research was supported by the Grains Research and Development Corporation.

Legumes contain about twice the amount of protein found in whole grain cereals and play an important role in food security in most developing nations. Pulses, the edible seeds from legumes, have also been shown to help reduce ﷟the incidence of cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

Australia produces around  2.25 million tonnes of pulses annually, of which over 90% are exported. Pulse crops are valued for farming sustainability – as disease breaks and weed control options. Pulses also convert nitrogen in the air to the soil, allowing for reduced running costs for the next crop.

Changes in the production environment such as climate, new pests, water shortages and higher farming costs have led to pulse breeders looking for better strategies to ensure their crop material can adapt to changing conditions.

Dr Janine is a farmer and a scientist. She and her team of researchers at UWA`s Centre for Plant Genetics and Breeding  , including Dr Federico Ribalta have developed a novel rapid generation turnover process to help meet changing needs. Their platform speeds the development of purebred seed lines for pulse breeders with improved crop quality, predictability and resilience of offspring in harsh climate conditions.



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