University of Dundee

Plant Sciences

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Funding awarded to improve barley crops

A University of Dundee academic has been awarded more than £600,000 to study an increasing problem with the cereal crop barley that impacts the commercially important malting process and the shelf-life of animal feed.
Dr Sarah McKim, a School of Life Sciences researcher based at the James Hutton Institute, was awarded a BBSRC research grant to investigate the unfavourable trait, called ‘skinning’, and to develop tools to track it in breeding populations.

Mechanisms underlying variation in barley hull adhesion

This project will investigate the molecular underpinnings of hull adhesion on the barley grain, a trait crucial for downstream uses of barley in malting and food.  Barley grain has two extremes: where the hulls stick firmly to the seed wall (the pericarp) and ‘naked’, where hulls shed free. However, hulls can also partially shed or ‘skin’ which is an undesirable trait for grain destine for the malting industry. In covered barley, the pericarp secretes a “cementing layer” onto its surface to stick to the inner hull. Naked barley lacks this layer.

Young Plant Scientist accolade for Dundee-based researcher

A PhD student at the University of Dundee and James Hutton Institute has been selected as Young Plant Scientist 2018 in the fundamental research category by the European Plant Science Organisation (EPSO).

Shumei Wang, based at the Institute’s Cell and Molecular Sciences group, has discovered a new pathway involved in infection by Phytophthora infestans, the pathogen responsible for potato late blight. Her work significantly improves the understanding of plant-pathogen interactions and may open new possibilities in the development of defence strategies.