Principal Industrial Supervisor – Dr. Alex Park, AB InBev
Principal Academic Supervisors – Dr. John Foulkes, University of Nottingham
Additional Supervisors – Dr. Guillermina Mendiondo, University of Nottingham
This project will be based at the School of Biosciences, University of Nottingham and the appointed student will registered at the University of Nottingham as the degree awarding institution.
Developing cultivars with high yields and malting quality whilst minimising N inputs is a key target for the production of sustainable barley crops. High N applications are uneconomic and pose a potential threat of nitrate pollution of ground water as well as emissions of GHGs due to the release of N2O. To develop N-efficient cultivars will require improved understanding of the genetic and physiological bases of both N uptake and utilization. The project will identify novel genotypes expressing high N-uptake efficiency and N-utilization efficiency, understand the mechanisms underlying the improved N efficiency and investigate the genetic bases of these traits. The plant material phenotyped will include elite UK and European malting barley cultivars and landraces in the public domain and an elite GWAS panel from the ABI breeding programme. In years 1 and 2, a panel of ten elite cultivars and landraces will be phenotyped at a field site at Nottingham University at four fertilizer N rates ranging from sub-optimal to a supra-optimal N rates. Physiological analysis will be carried out to understand how the high N-use efficiency genotypes are explained by the different physiological components of: (i) root activity, (ii) leaf/canopy photosynthetic rate and (iii) optimized N remobilization determining the stay green trait. The field studies will utilise shovelomics or electrophysiological or penetrometer methods for quantifying root traits. Photosynthetic traits will be quantified through analysis of multi and hyperspectral reflectance indices. In addition, biomass and N uptake and dry matter and N partitioning will be quantified at critical development stages through the growing season. Malting quality of grain samples will be assessed through analysis of grain N%, germination performance, texture and micro-malting tests (alpha amylase, moisture, protein, beta glucan, DP, FAN, extract, s/t, soluble protein, turbidity, and wort color). From these data, we will understand the bases of the improved for N-efficiency for malting barley genotypes and identify target traits for improved NUE for further genetic analysis. In year 3, a Genome Wide Association Study (GWAS) study will be carried out phenotyping target traits in a field experiment on an ABI GWAS malting barley panel utilizing a 40,000 SNP array to identify mark-trait associations. The most promising Marker Trait Associations will then be used to search for candidate genes, for which molecular markers will be established for the NUE traits for deployment in the ABI malting barley breeding program.
If you would like to discuss this project in more detail, please contact Dr. John Foulkes ([Email Address Removed]) for more information.
How to Apply
Please visit the main BARIToNE programme page for more details