Disease-resistant superfoods that benefit the environment (RIDOUT_J17ICASE)

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

Abstract

Baby Leaf Kale (Brassica oleracea, BLK) has been popularised as a super food through the growing health awareness and weight loss movement in the USA and Europe. The use of BLK in a wide range of packaged food and drinks' products globally has more than trebled in recent years and the global kale market is currently worth circa £150 million. One of the major challenges facing BLK production is downy mildew (Peronospora parasitica) which can spread rapidly through the crop and render it unsaleable, a threat increasing due to the imminent withdrawal of agrochemicals for environmental reasons.

An effective way of controlling diseases without chemicals is through the use of resistance genes which can be bred into cultivars. Major 'R' gene resistance can provide effective disease control and has been widely used in horticulture. However, this type of resistance can be susceptible to 'break-down' due to pathogen evolution. Quantitative disease resistance (QDR) can also be effective and is considered more likely to be durable and long-lasting than R-gene mediated resistance. This project investigates both R-gene resistance and QDR in BLK so that they can be used in combination to provide effective and durable resistance.

The project involves the genetic mapping of both R and QDR mediated resistance to identify genetic markers for breeding resistance to downy mildew. The student will learn a variety of plant pathology procedures and perform genetic mapping to identify resistance gene loci. They will also evaluate early resistance responses to conserved pathogen associated molecular patterns to evaluate their contribution to QDR using genome-wide association studies (GWAS) involving next generation sequencing to accelerate breeding marker development.

Publications

10 25 50

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M011216/1 01/10/2015 30/09/2023
1940795 Studentship BB/M011216/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2021 Abraham Gomez Gutierrez
 
Description My PhD is partnered with CN Seeds, a seed company based on Ely, Cambridgeshire, England. My initial screening using UK Downy Mildew isolates and 400 wild kale accessions help them find and confirm some natural resistance to DM present in several kale accessions. Some of these individuals were used to create commercial varieties at the CN Seeds facilities.
First Year Of Impact 2017
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink
Impact Types Economic

 
Description Downy Mildew propagation and infection assays 
Organisation Crop Research Institute
Country Czech Republic 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution I taught Irena Petr┼żelová group how to work with Downy Mildew (Hyaloperonospora brassicae) in a laboratory environment. I taught them how to propagate the pathogen in susceptible cultivars and how to do infection assays. I also provided a set of 6 DM isolates from the UK.
Collaborator Contribution They will provide me with other Downy Mildew isolates from other countries outside of the UK.
Impact Irena's laboratory is now able to perform disease assays using Downy Mildew in their Brassica oleracea accessions. This will allow them to find new resistances to DM in their own material which will help them to achieve their final objective to increase plants tolerances to biotic and abiotic stresses and adapt the varieties to the specific requirements of organic and low-input production processes.
Start Year 2019
 
Description Find new sources of Downy Mildew resistance in wild kale accessions. 
Organisation CN Seeds Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution I was able to screen 400 accessions at the CN Seeds labs and find several resistant kale accessions that were used to create several mapping populations. This populations are part of my PhD and I am using them to map downy mildew resistance at a genetic level.
Collaborator Contribution They allow me to use their facilities at CN Seeds to screen all 400 accessions over a period of 3 months.
Impact - Based on my Downy Mildew screenings and previous ones made by them, a DM resistant kale variety was created. - Several mapping populations were created by CN Seeds and are now part of my Research.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Norwich science festival - Brassica diversity workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact I run a workshop with my colleague Lola Gonzalez Penades teaching young students the biological diversity present in the Brassica genus.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://norwichsciencefestival.co.uk/
 
Description Norwich science festival - Mendelian genetics workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Teach young students at the Norwich Science Festival the basics of Mendelian genetics using little games.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://norwichsciencefestival.co.uk/
 
Description UKBRC2018 - Oral presentation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact The UK Brassica Research Community (UK-BRC) consists of a wide range of research groups, breeders and other end-users, holds annual meetings of academic and industry-based scientists, and operates a mailing list of 180 members. This website provides details of research projects, resources and interests of its members.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://ukbrc.hosted.york.ac.uk/about.html
 
Description UKBRC2019 attendance 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact The UK Brassica Research Community (UK-BRC) consists of a wide range of research groups, breeders and other end-users, holds annual meetings of academic and industry-based scientists, and operates a mailing list of 180 members. This website provides details of research projects, resources and interests of its members.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://ukbrc.hosted.york.ac.uk/about.html