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Plant breeding for food safety

Project Description

Food security often focuses on food production, but reduced food waste and enhanced quality and safety are important targets for food resilience. Leafy crops have the potential to provide nutrient dense and versatile fresh produce, but eaten raw, with minimal processing, they provide a risk to human health and are prone to losses from microbial spoilage. Leaves are host to diverse and numerous community microorganisms and with the availability of novel DNA sequence approaches, new insights into the abundance and diversity of these plant-associated microorganisms are emerging. They have a significant impact on the quality, shelf-life and safety of fresh leafy produce, but they vary depending on climate, plant traits, agricultural practices and microbial colonisation. This project will focus on the extended phenotype that exists between leaf-based traits in lettuce that have an impact on the abundance and diversity of microbes that form the unique leaf microbiome that sits in a biofilm across the leaf (phyloplane) surface. The project will explore which leaf-based traits can be linked to safer, cleaner food production systems and the genetic basis of these plant-based traits will be identified using quantitative genetic approaches. This project will provide novel pre-breeding insight into better food for the future through molecular plant breeding.

Funding Notes

You can apply for fully-funded studentships (stipend and fees) from INSPIRE if you:
Are a UK or EU national.
Have no restrictions on how long you can stay in the UK.
Have been 'ordinarily resident' in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the project.

Please click View Website for more information on eligibility and how to apply


How good is research at University of Southampton in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 68.62

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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