[ASC-media] UWA RESEARCH BOOSTING GLOBAL BARLEY BREEDING
brendon at iinet.net.au
Thu Nov 9 07:45:28 CET 2006
Media Release - 9/11/06
UWA RESEARCH BOOSTING GLOBAL BARLEY BREEDING
Australia's 6.6 million tonne barley industry would not be where it is today
without a key project in WA that has more than 11,000 lines, comprising wild
types, landraces, varieties and breeding lines, in its general barley
The 30 year old barley germplasm enhancement project is located at the
University of WA (UWA) Research Station in Shenton Park and has contributed
to the development of several successful barely varieties in WA and
Most recently, it provided parental lines used in the breeding of Vlamingh,
released in February this year and recently granted malting status.
Vlamingh should boost Australian barley growers' pockets, potentially
delivering $25 to $40 per hectare more than existing varieties.
This Grains Research and Development Corporation supported project has not
only assisted WA growers, by boosting WA's $52 million export malting barley
industry, but has also helped fill beer drinkers' glasses around the world.
UWA School of Plant Biology Research Officer, Christina Grime said Vlamingh
was just one of many positive outcomes from the project, which benefits the
barley industry by introducing greater genetic variation into Australian
breeding programs to increase yield and quality in new varieties.
"We achieve this through greater disease resistance, tolerances to abiotic
stresses and new genes for quality traits," Ms Grime said.
"There are numerous activities within the project, from introduction,
evaluation, enhancement (pre-breeding), storage and dispatching barley
germplasm, either as straight introductions or cross progeny, with novel
Ms Grime noted that many malting quality lines were sourced from breeding
programs in Canada, Europe, South Africa and Uruguay and disease and stress
tolerance lines from gene banks in Japan and the USA.
"Imported seed is sown at the UWA Research Station and its development,
morphology, agronomy and disease resistance is then evaluated," she said.
The project also stored doubled haploid (DH) populations from the WA
Department of Agriculture and Food and overseas and interstate, for use in
genome mapping projects.
The 45,000 DH barley collections at UWA are growing annually by about 5000
Professor Kadambot Siddique, Director of the Institute of Agriculture at
UWA, said the GRDC-supported barley breeding program was an example of UWA's
capacity for quality research, ultimately resulting in a positive
commercial outcome for agriculture.
"UWA's role in providing parental lines for the new malting barley variety,
Vlamingh, was significant, because besides agronomic, disease and pest
considerations, a barley variety must satisfy something like 35 other
quality traits to qualify as malting," he said.
Authorised by Institute of Agriculture, The University of Western Australia
and issued on its behalf by Brendon Cant & Associates, Tel 08 9384 1122
Christina Grime, Tel 08 9387 3646
Professor Kadambot Siddique, Tel 08 6488 7012, Mobile 0411 155 396
BACKGROUND: UWA has a proud 70 year history of teaching and research in
agriculture and natural resource management. The Faculty of Agriculture was
established at UWA in 1936 and the Institute of Agriculture in 1938 to
provide critical research facilities and staff for effective training of
professional agricultural graduates and scientists at post-graduate level.
UWA recently re-established the Institute of Agriculture, with Professor
Kadambot Siddique as Director, to strengthen the cohesion of agriculture
teaching and research within and between UWA Faculties. The Institute will
co-ordinate existing strengths of the Faculty in teaching and research in
agricultural science, while advancing UWA's reputation in agriculture by
enhancing links with industry, farmer groups, the community and national and
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