There is an increasing worldwide demand in biomass production for bioenergy purpose. Maize is the dominating crop for biogas production. To maintain a sustainable biogas production, crop rotations must be implemented which include various crops. In maize rotations winter barley would be an ideal supplement as an early crop.
The aim of the Phänobrid project is to develop a breeding strategy for hybrids winter barley production for use in crop rotations. Two research institutes and six breeding companies take part in the joint research project which is sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture for three years.
The breeding companies perform field trials under defined stress condition with the aim to identify winter barley lines with improved biomass production and stress tolerance to be used as crossing parents for hybrid breeding. To test the performance of the novel hybrids, the lines are phenotyped on six locations for shoot traits which are important for an efficient biogas production. With the aim to identify genotype-specific differences in root development and root system architecture that are associated with improved plant vigor and drought stress tolerance, root traits are quantified by using phenotyping platforms (e.g. GROWSCREEN-Rhizo) established at the institute of Plant Sciences (IBG-2). Using association mapping approaches genes conferring stress tolerance will be identified and verified for heterosis expression in the corresponding hybrid progenies.
The project will help to improve biogas production by development of winter barley lines with higher performance due to exploitation of heterosis effects.