Major international push to maximise bioscience research to help world’s poorest farmers
The Department has been awarded two grants from the BBSRC-led programme 'Sustainable Crop Production Research for International Development' (SCPRID).
The aim of Julian Hibberd's grant "Wild rice MAGIC" (£1.4M) is to increase drought tolerance and tolerance to bacterial and viral infections in domesticated rice using naturally existing variation in wild rice species. MAGIC is shortened from Multi-Advanced Generation Inter-Crossing. The research team includes not only scientists in Julian's lab in the Plant Sciences Department, but also colleagues at NIAB, IRRI in the Philippines as well as partners in Coimbatore, India and Tanzania.
The aim of the project "Modelling and manipulation of plant-aphid interactions: A new avenue for sustainable disease management of an important crop in Africa" (led at Plant Sciences by John Carr, Chris Gilligan and David Baulcombe) is to understand how changes in plant biochemistry caused by virus infection alter the behaviour of aphids (insects that transmit viruses between plants) and to see how this knowledge could be used to better protect crop plants against these insects and the viruses they transmit. In this £2M project the main focus is on bean and its viruses and the work will be carried out in collaboration with colleagues at Rothamsted and in Kenya and Uganda. Post Doctoral Research Fellow job is available for this grant (closing date 30 January).
Illus: Although bean varieties resistant to bean common mosaic virus exist, these plants die off if they became infected with another virus, called bean common mosaic necrotic virus that is widespread in Africa. The plant on the left is infected with bean common mosaic virus and the plant on the right is resistant to bean common mosaic virus but has become infected with bean common mosaic necrotic virus (Image credit: CIAT, Uganda).
Making plastics from algae
Alison Smith has attended the kick-off meeting of an EU FP7 network grant called "SPLASH – sustainable polymers from algae sugars and hydrocarbons". The project is between 20 different partners, will cost some €12m and the grant from the European Commission is almost €9m.