Act to inspire & inspire to act 2020

Page 25

Future Food

SLU select the best plants of intermediate wheatgrass for the traits of interest. These individual plants will then be cross-pollinated, and the resulting seeds planted to produce the next improved breeding population. The genetic material of intermediate wheatgrass comes from the plant-breeding programs at The Land Institute in Kansas, USA which has developed Kernza; the University of Minnesota, USA; and the University of Manitoba, Canada. The ongoing breeding program at TorsĂĽker is to date the only one outside

North America and the only one based on genetic diversity from all three breeding programs in the USA and Canada carried out during different climate conditions. Part of the contribution of Axfoundation is to identify the commercial potential for the new crop in collaboration with chefs and bakers. Trials at TorsĂĽker farm are carried out by Anna Westerbergh, principal investigator of perennial cereals and Associate Professor in Genetics and Plant Breeding, and her research group at the Department of Plant Biology at SLU in Uppsala, Sweden.

Perennial intermediate wheatgrass The large leaf biomass and well-developed root system increase the carbon sequestration in the soil, thus decreasing carbon dioxide emission from perennial farming. The perennial crops are also more tolerant to stresses such as drought and waterlogging, and are efficient at taking up nutrients from the soil.

21