In the UK we import approximately 70% of our vegetables leading to higher prices for customers and carbon emissions due to transport.
By increasing the production of UK crops we will reduce waste, as we currently tend to grow more than needed to ensure delivery to supermarkets, and the quantity of vegetables imported from other countries.
GEN researcher Dr Judith Irwin has developed a new fast-growing broccoli line that is quickly attracting attention from industry.
Dr Irwin has translated our understanding of how plants control and regulate flowering time from fundamental research using the reference species Arabidopsis, working in collaboration with Professor Dame Caroline Dean, to enable the control of flowering in the broccoli plant.
Plants regulate their flowering time through a process called vernalisation, where they sense a period of cold before flowering. With an unpredictable climate, where we cannot be certain of prolonged periods of cold, this will make it difficult to schedule harvests. By removing the requirement for cold, Dr Irwin has been able to develop a line that can be harvested twice annually from field conditions, or produce up to five crops per year if grown in a protected environment