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Varietal and environmental factors optimising rosemary quality

Project Description

A studentship is available, starting September 2017, funded by the Royal Horticultural Society and Royal Holloway. The project aims to identify improved genetic traits, growing conditions and mycorrhizal supplementation regime for the enhancement of quality of horticulturally-grown rosemary. This will provide a multidisciplinary training experience in plant physiology, soil microbiology, GCMS, SEM and RNAseq.
Rosemary is one of the biggest-selling herbs in the UK, with over 5 million pots, bunches and packs sold per year. RHS Wisley are currently trialling their extensive rosemary collection. This constitutes a tremendously-valuable source of improved traits which could be introduced into currently-cultivated varieties. The project will work closely with the RHS to screen these lines for morphology, taste, and aroma, while also examining growth conditions which optimise these characteristics. The project will also investigate whether addition of mycorrhiza can improve rooting and establishment and whether the presence of mycorrhiza can enhance volatile production.
Taste and aroma (volatile composition) will be analysed both via GCMS and via feedback from tasting panels; oil gland morphology will be analysed by scanning electron microscope analysis; while cutting-edge high-throughput RNAseq will also allow you to establish the rosemary transcriptome, enabling real-time quantitative PCR based assays of gene expression in high-performing varieties and growth conditions. The project also offers the opportunity to work closely with the UK’s leading supplier of pot-grown and fresh cut herbs to carry out greenhouse trials of optimal varieties and growth conditions.

Funding Notes

This studentship is part funded by the Royal Horticultural Society and Royal Holloway.

How good is research at Royal Holloway, University of London in Biological Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 24.00

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

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