Pulse crop breakthrough sowing the seeds for change

Thursday, 20 February, 2020

Pulse crop breakthrough sowing the seeds for change

Researchers from The University of Western Australia’s Centre for Plant Genetics and Breeding have created a technique to speed up the development of seeds, producing better quality and more abundant pulse crops. The pulse-breeding platform was developed to allow seeds to grow faster by accelerating the plant life cycle. The accelerated-Single-Seed-Descent platform uses LED technology to encourage the plants to flower quickly and develop their seeds faster; the resultant crops are claimed to be more resilient, require fewer chemical treatments and have reduced running costs.

“As we move into more instability in our regions, we will be able to respond more quickly to emerging issues and address these through our breeding platforms,” said Dr Janine Croser, lead researcher.

Approximately 2.25 million tonnes of pulses are produced annually in Australia, but changing production conditions such as climate, new pests, water shortages and higher farming costs have led to pulse breeders seeking strategies to make their crops more resilient. The research was carried out in response to feedback from farmers about practical problems on the land, and was supported by the Grains Research and Development Corporation.

Dr Federico Ribalta tending herbicide resistance lines as part of the chickpea breeding program. Image credit: UWA.

Researchers are also investigating the development of key breeding populations for Australian grown legumes.

“Working in close collaboration with breeders means that there is a faster release of new varieties for farmers,” said Dr Federico Ribalta, UWA researcher.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/andriigorulko

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