Scientific publications

Due to operational constraints, existing breeding strategies generally allow exploring a limited part of the GxGXE interaction space in an intercropping system. In this project, we are trying to develop specialized breeding methods for Intercrops, harnessing ecophysiological crop modelling along with traditional monocrop breeding approaches.


Exploration and exploitation of the GxGxE space spanned by multi-environment intercropping experiments

Reena Dubey, Steven Maenhout Progeno, Technologiepark-Zwijnaarde 82, 9052 Gent, Predictive breeding, Ghent University, Belgium


The project aims to infer a maximally efficient breeding strategy for intercrops. Various Intercrop breeding methods are proposed including Ecophysiological intercrop modelling.  Existing intercrop breeding strategies generally allow to explore but a limited part of the GxGXE interaction space due to operational constraints. We aim to develop and integrate an ecophysiological intercrop growth model in the breeding process to enlarge the explored subspace in the dimension of the environment.


The calibration and validation of this growth model relies on the phenotypic data that is gathered in extensive multi-year, multi-environment intercrop trials across Europe as part of the Horizon2020 CROPDIVA project. The efficiency of this new breeding strategy will be benchmarked against that of existing intercrop breeding methods by means of simulations.



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The Potential of Small Landscape Features to Increase Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in Arable Farmland

(Todd Jenkins, Dr. John Reade, Dr. Nicola Randall — Harper Adams University, Shropshire, TF10 8NB UK)


In the first year, it was found that the soil and water protection mix along with two multifunctional mixes effectively increased vegetative cover while decreasing bare ground cover in winter months (P < 0.05 compared to other treatments). This cover remained throughout the winter, indicating the ability of these mixes to provide important services during this season with little trade-off effects.


Additionally, the two multifunctional mixes showed similar success in increasing floral cover to the individual pollinator mix when compared to other treatments (P < 0.05). The findings support the use of multifunctional, annual mixes as a potential option for farmers, as they offer a range of ecosystem services. The study also indicates that there is no trade-off when using mixes that target multiple ecosystem services, compared to those that focus on a single service.


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Potential use of faba bean (vicia faba l.) in creation of plant based spreads.

(Dubravka ŠKROBOT, Milica POJIĆ, Jelena TOMIĆ, Predrag IKONIĆ, Miloš ŽUPANJAC, Vojislav BANJAC, Mladenka PESTORIĆ, University of Novi Sad, Institute of Food Technology, Bulevar cara Lazara 1, 21000 Novi Sad, Serbia)



The objective of this study was to formulate, produce and characterize the functional spreads processed out of faba bean seeds, as an alternative to classical meat/liver pâté.


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