Healthier crops with less fertilizer

Lead Research Organisation: University of East Anglia
Department Name: Graduate Office

Abstract

There is an increasing need to develop crops that have improved disease resistance to reduce dependence on pesticides and benefit the environment. In addition, as natural resources become scarcer, there is a need to develop crops with reduced dependence on inorganic fertilizers such as Nitrogen and Phosphorus. Many plant varieties, including barley and other cereals, form symbiotic mycorrhizal associations with soil fungi that enable nutrients including P and N to be assimilated. Breeding efforts are, however, targeted to deploy resistance genes that protect against harmful diseases. The trade-off between selection for resistance and mycorrhization is largely unknown, and is the subject of this PhD project. The work involves investigation of genetic variation in different barley genotypes to determine whether modern breeding has selected against mycorrhization. Also, the effect of specific resistance genes on the symbiotic association will be investigated. The widely-used mlo gene, which confers resistance against powdery mildew, could have a negative impact on mycorrhization. This will be tested with a series of allelic variants for mlo and modifiers of the gene. Immune responses induced by chitin, a constituent of the fungal cell wall, will be tested for their involvement in establishment of mycorrhiza using RNAi silenced lines with reduced chitin perception. The research will provide the basis for breeding improved varieties for sustainable yield with reduced inputs. The project provides high-quality training in plant pathology and mycorrhizal biology, molecular biology, plant genetics, bioinformatics and statistics. The student will benefit from working with three labs, each specialising in plant immunity, mycorrhization and cereal genetics.

Publications

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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M011216/1 01/10/2015 30/09/2023
1654091 Studentship BB/M011216/1 01/10/2015 30/09/2019 Catherine Jacott
 
Description Meeting with DEFRA to discuss using mutants generated using CRISPR-Cas9 technology in the field
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
 
Description Conservation agriculture collaboration 
Organisation Shimpling Park Farm
PI Contribution We visited Shimpling Park Farms to see how conservation agriculture practises were being used to add value to farming
Collaborator Contribution Owner of Shimpling Park Farms contributed to the development of a subsequent workshop on Conservation Agriculture
Impact A workshop was held at the John Innes Centre involving farmers and researchers, including scientists from the USA
Start Year 2017
 
Description PIPs placement in collaboration with AgriFoods Canada 
Organisation Government of Canada
Country Canada 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Professional Internship Placement hosted by AgriFoods Canada.
Collaborator Contribution I spent 3 months at AgriFoods Canada for my PIPs placement conducting a marketing review of "What Craft Brewers are looking for regarding Malt barley in the Canadian Maritime Provinces"
Impact Knowledge exchange with AgriFoods Canada
Start Year 2016
 
Description A taste of Genetic Diversity: demonstration activity for the John Innes Centre open day 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A demonstration of our research was performed at an open day at the John Innes Centre, involving hands on activities and discussion on the theme of 'a taste of genetic diversity. The activities involved showing how brassicas were used in baby leaf salads, and how heritage barley varieties were used in brewing beer
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Crop Genetics Seminar 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I gave a departmental seminar
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Crop Pathology Seminar 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I gave a departmental seminar
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Developing Markets for Heritage Malts 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Presentation at the Great Lakes Hop and Barley Conference, Detroit, Michigan. The audience comprised farmers, maltsters, brewers, researchers
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Great Lakes Hop and Barley Conference 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact I attended this conference and gave a presentation
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://msue.anr.msu.edu/events/great_lakes_hop_and_barley_conference_2017
 
Description Gressenhall Open Farm Sunday 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Gressenhall Open Farm Sunday was an open day for the general public to learn about farming and science. I ran a stall displaying information about barley growing, translational scientific research and beer production.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.edp24.co.uk/business/farming/open-farm-sunday-thousands-enjoy-countryside-fun-as-east-ang...
 
Description JIC 50 Anniversary 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact The general public attended this event to learn about JIC and celebrate the 50th year anniversary of JIC being in Norwich. The event lasted one day. Our lab had a stand explaining the work we do on malt barley and brassica research.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.jic.ac.uk/news-and-events/news/2017/03/john-innes-centre-celebrates-50-years-norwich-201...
 
Description MBPP Conference Durham 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact I attended this conference and presented a talk
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://www.dur.ac.uk/dccit/events/?eventno=33546
 
Description NoCaSS conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact I attended this conference (Norwich and Cambridge Student Symposium) and presented a poster
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://nocass.org/
 
Description Re-introducing heritage barley: Science into practise 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Invited speaker at the RMI analytics Heirloom and Terrior Barley and Malt Symposium. The results of the projects including commercialisation of heritage malt were presented
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Transatlantic Sessions in Conservation and Organic Agriculture 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact We held a workshop to discuss current thinking in conservation and organic agriculture, with speakers from UK and USA. This was an opportunity to discuss potential collaborations, and future joint research. These discussions are ongoing, though no specific projects have yet materialised
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Transatlantic Sessions on Conservation and Organic Agriculture 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact I attended this workshop and gave a presentation and participated in the discussion group.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Visit to Adelaide University 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I attended the University and gave a presentation. This helped with knowledge exchange between the university and my research group.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015,2017