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Improvement of abiotic stress tolerance in cereals

Environmental pollution/unwanted plant-soil relationships
reduce crop yield quality and quantity. This project will
develop new cereal cultivars tolerant to abiotic stress and
make them available for environmentally-sound agriculture.

Cereals (Triticum aestivum L., T. Durum Desf., Hordeum vulgare, Secale cereale L., X Triticosecale Wittmarck.) are the most important crop species in Hungarian, French, Polish and Greek agriculture. Wheat is grown on approximately 1.2 million hectares in HUNGARY alone and Polish triticale cultivars play a significant role in the cereal production of more than 15 European countries. The development of new, intensive cereal cultivars has led to a dramatic yield improvement in wheat; however, maximising crop productivity and end-use quality requires the effective selection and targeting of cultivars for appropriate production areas. Aluminium (Al) toxicity along with other low, or high pH constraints are very important growth- limiting factors in problem soils. Top yielding cultivars may not grow and yield well on infertile, dry, acidic and mineral-deficient soils, thus development of cultivars tolerant of the above mentioned abiotic stresses is an essential requirement to sustain crop production in these vast areas. However, genetic variation within the gene pools concerned and the testing methods applied may not be sufficient for the long term improvement of cultivars tolerant to abiotic stress in HUNGARY, FRANCE, GREECE, or POLAND alone. Previous contacts established among the participating scientists, together with some exchange of experimental methods and materials also reflect a strong element of mutual interest. Unfortunately, the availability of cultivars tolerant of the above abiotic stresses and suitable for sustainable agriculture has not kept pace with the demand. Currently, on all sides, separate R & D efforts are underway to develop suitable techniques and plant genetic resources selected for abiotic stress tolerance. Our purpose is to conduct joint work with the ultimate goal of developing highly market-oriented, new and valuable cultivars. These new crop cultivars, emanating from this joint project will offer a unique and logistics approach to improving the profitability of crop production for farmers in all four target areas and others. The research programme is as follows: A) Identification of new, possible gene sources with desirable agronomic and tolerance characteristics. Utilisation of identified sources carrying genes for Al tolerance in wheat and tricale. Testing the response time of plants to a diverse range of environmental, chemical and biological stresses assessed by the chlorophyll fluorescence method. B) Development of laboratory facilities for biotechnology and solution culture system to gain more knowledge and intensify application. C) Development of selection methods, elite germplasms and and conduct joint research to determine the cross- adaptation of Polish, Hungarian, French and Greek wheat and tricale genotypes. D) Ultimately, development of suitable, stress-tolerant cereal cultivars and their launch on the market, where possible, in the most effective ways.
Acronym: 
CEREALSTRESSTOL
Project ID: 
1 322
Start date: 
01-07-1995
Project Duration: 
48months
Project costs: 
440 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Market Area: 

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.