Research to boost pulse crop development

A RESEARCH collaboration led by The University of Western Australia (UWA) has created a new technique that speeds up the development of pulse crop seeds.
Research to boost pulse crop development Research to boost pulse crop development Research to boost pulse crop development Research to boost pulse crop development Research to boost pulse crop development

UWA researcher Dr Federico Ribalta is part of a team working on breeding better pulses. Image courtesy UWA.

Staff writer

Researchers from UWA's Centre for Plant Genetics and Breeding developed the pulse-breeding platform to allow seeds to develop faster by rapidly accelerating the plant life cycle.

Australia produces around 2.25 million tonnes of pulses annually. However changes in the production environment such as climate, new pests, water shortages and higher farming costs have led pulse breeders to look for better strategies to ensure crop material can adapt.

The accelerated-Single-Seed-Descent platform is the first of its kind that uses LED technology to encourage the plants to flower quickly and develop their seeds faster.

The resultant crops are more resilient, require fewer chemical treatments and have reduced running costs.

Lead researcher, Dr Janine Croser from UWA's Centre for Plant Genetics and Breeding, said the research was carried out in response to feedback from farmers about practical problems on the land.

"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," Dr Croser said.

UWA researcher Dr Federico Ribalta said the team had extended the research to investigate 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," Dr Ribalta said.

The research is supported by the Grains Research and Development Corporation.