Barley research takes root

Press/Media: Press / Media

Period1 Dec 2014

Media contributions


Media contributions

  • TitleGetting to the root of better crops
    Degree of recognitionInternational
    Media name/outletThe UWA Institute of Agriculture Newsletter
    Media typeWeb
    DescriptionBarley is an important grain crop in Australia and Germany. In both countries, production is limited by drought and low-phosphorus or low-nitrogen soils.

    Breeding for water-and nutrient-use efficient barley cultivars for increased adaptation to these environmental stresses is an important strategy.

    Support from Group of Eight Australia-Germany Joint Research Cooperation Scheme and a UWA Collaboration Award has allowed researchers from UWA, Forschungszentrum Juelich (FZJ) in Germany and Pennsylvania State University in the USA to work together to explore phenotypic variation in barley root anatomy, architecture and root system plasticity in different environments.

    This collaborative project combines intensive phenotyping of root traits with modelling simulation of root architecture and growth in order to map phenotypic variability and understand how this variability influences nutrient and water acquisition and eventually crop growth.

    Dr Yinglong Chen made a visit to FZJ in June 2014 and assessed root traits related to water- and nitrogen-use efficiency and grain yield under German field environments. In return, Dr Tobias Wojciechowski and third-year PhD candidate Miss Vera Hecht of FZJ visited UWA in August 2014 to evaluate root trait variation among selected Australian and German barley cultivars using the novel semi-hydroponic phenotyping system.

    Field trials with selected barley cultivars differing in root architecture traits will be set up in Western Australian soils in 2015. Collaborators from UWA (Professor Rengel, Professor Siddique and Dr Chen) and FZJ (Dr Postma and Dr Wojciechowski) will travel to USA to meet Professor Jonathan Lynch and his colleagues to evaluate research outcomes and discuss project development at a joint workshop in late 2015.

    Collaboration between the Australian, German and US partners provides a unique opportunity to achieve the research objectives because each partner has specific expertise in root phenotyping and physiology in the field and as well as under controlled environments. Research outcomes will make an important contribution towards understanding the barley root phenome with respect to water and nutrient acquisition in dry and low-fertility soils.
    Producer/AuthorYinglong Chen
    PersonsYinglong Chen