barley rooting

Improved barley cultivars for better nutrient acquisition

Barley cultivars to cope with nutritional drought

With global environmental change it is essential to ensure resilience of farming systems. In the agricultural landscape of the future, effective use of water and nutrients by crops will be critical to the sustainability of farming systems.

The main objective of this research is to identify barley cultivars which cope with nutritional drought, the reduced availability of nutrients under predicted drier summer conditions. Understanding the interaction between plant responses to water availability and phosphorus deficiency will be crucial. Since many of the physiological responses associated with both stresses are shared, it is imperative that such responses are decoupled to identify the key drivers of relevant phenotypes.

This research employs state-of-the-art techniques to identify genes, transcripts and proteins which control the expression of relevant phenotypes. Applying this understanding to the barley genetic resources exclusive to SCRI will optimise identification of cultivars better able to cope with the future requirements of farmers.

Initial results have demonstrated that while the overriding driver of root proliferation by commercial varieties of barley is water availability there is an additive effect of P-availability. We now need to elucidate whether barley cultivars have genotypic variation in their response to combined water and nutrient limitation.

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