Improving the nutritional value and sustainability of crops by targeting metabolic traits

Food security demands a continuous supply of food, providing a healthy and nutritious diet. In addition, food production must keep pace with growing populations in the face of climate change and environmental damage caused by unsustainable agricultural practices.

Our research will target metabolic pathways to produce new crop varieties that help address the following societal challenges:

(1) Health issues of obesity and malnutrition

(2) Reducing agrochemical inputs and lower environmental impacts.

We will use the JIC’s Germplasm Resource Unit, emerging genome-editing technologies, and genome sequencing data to uncover genes and genetic variation in specific traits. These include nutritional traits such as iron levels, flavour compounds, and resistant starch; and agronomic traits for sustainable crop production such as nitrogen use efficiency and pollinator attraction.

We will have regular interactions with consumers and industry to publicise new discoveries and respond to emerging concerns. The aim of this research is to generate proof-of principle and pre-breeding material for the traits we uncover.