The key strategic objectives of HealthyMinorCereals are as follows:

  • Exploitation of available germplasm for each minor cereal species (spelt, rye, oat, einkorn and emmer) and their wild relatives
  • Identification of chromosome segments responsible for disease and quality traits by association mapping
  • Identification of different alleles for sequenced resistance genes by ecoTILLING
  • Multiplication and exchange of useful quantities of seed for use in field trials
  • Comprehensive phenotyping and genetic characterisation, including the identification of duplicate genotypes
  • Utilization of new breeding strategies for minor cereals, and adaptation of research methodology specifically for minor cereals in relation to agronomic management, grain processing, nutritional quality, health promoting effects etc.
  • Identification of genotypes with promising traits for yield, resistance to important fungal diseases, improved nutrient use efficiency, quality, suitability for food processing and other beneficial traits
  • Optimisation of agronomy of selected minor cereal genotypes in four European countries with diverse climatic zones, through on-station and on-farm field trials, with a focus on organic fertilisation and advanced agronomic management tools
  • Investigating the genotypic diversity for micronutrient, phenolic and antioxidant content, and for any potential harmful/anti-nutritive components in minor cereals by using high-throughput profiling analysis, and analysing possible beneficial effects of selected genotypes on human health through the bioassays using human cell cultures
  • Development of know-how in milling and other food preparation methods suitable for minor cereals for improving quality, consumer acceptance, processability and stability
  • Understanding how new products based on minor cereals can be best introduced to the market, taking into account regional differences within Europe with a programme of case studies
  • Demonstration of project results through farmer-participatory field trials and production and quality evaluation of new food products using minor cereals
  • Dissemination of project results to promote a rapid and comprehensive utilisation of project results by all relevant stakeholders - farmers, crop breeders, food industry, researchers and consumers