Work packages

WP1: Genomic characterisation and analysis of minor cereal accessions

WP1 deals with the genetic characterization of genetic resources for spelt and wild relatives (emmer, einkorn, Aegilops etc.) as well as for oat and rye. Further, in the case of spelt, a genome-wide association integrating the results of WP2 and WP7 will be carried out and allele-mining in spelt for specific genes will be performed. WP1 also includes a direct screening for disease resistant through ecoTILLING for alleles of specific known resistance genes and mapping of selected disease resistance sources in segregating spelt and oat populations. Genotypes identified as potentially disease resistant will be used for field experiments in WP3.

WP2: Phenotyping of minor cereals to determine the potential for developing new commercial varieties

Selected promising genotypes of oat, spelt and rye and their CWR will undergo phenotypic evaluation to be carried out at 6 locations in 5 countries (Switzerland, Austria and Estonia: spelt; Czech Republic and Estonia: oats; Czech Republic and Estonia: rye, Czech Republic: CWR, Turkey: spelt, rye and oat). Identified genotypes of interest will be used for agronomy research, nutritional analysis and developing of processing/fortification strategies. WP2 will also initiate crossing of the most promising genotypes to eventually create new varieties of minor cereals.

WP3: Evaluation of biotic/abiotic stresses on minor cereals

Activities under WP3 will focus on the multi-season evaluation of genetically based resistance to biotic and abiotic stress (drought) in einkorn, emmer, spelt and in rye and oats, in both field and controlled environment experiments. A range of relevant crop diseases are covered and promising genotypes will be available for further disease evaluation and optimisation of agronomic management in WPs 4 and 5. Drought resistance will be evaluated growing of selected species under/without irrigation in the Mediterranean region (Crete and Central Turkey).

WP4: Effect of agronomic management practices on the performance of minor cereals

The aim of WP4 is to investigate interactions of minor cereal genotypes (selected in WPs 1 and 2) with various agronomic management approaches in contrasting environments in order to identify (a) agronomic management practices which improve yield and quality b) varieties which express high lodging, pest and disease tolerance at higher fertiliser levels and (c) fertilisation regimes which minimise negative effects on the environment and crop performance. The main objectives are then to:
  • identify effects of (and interactions between) contrasting genotypes and fertilisation regimes (input type and level) on performance of minor grain cereals in three climatic zones in Europe;
  • identify effects of (and interactions between) contrasting genotypes, tillage and weed control protocols on the performance of minor grain cereals in two climatic zones in Europe;
  • organise farmer-participatory field trials to assess the performance of small grain cereal genotypes under different pedo-climatic and agronomic backgrounds used in commercial practice.

WP5: Effect of variety mixtures and intercropping on performance of minor cereals

WP5 will focus on identifying the effects of variety mixtures and legume intercrops on crop performance (yield, disease resistance and quality) using various fertiliser input levels and foliar disease treatments. Field experiments will be carried out in three climatic zones using contrasting genotypes of minor cereal species selected in WPs 1 and 2 to address genotype x environment (both climatic and agronomic) interactions.

WP6: Optimising processing and product development strategies to optimize market potential

WP6 will focus on optimization of processing/ fortification strategies and new product development from selected minor cereal species. The main objective is to define key technological grain (whole meal) parameters and their level in selected minor cereals (spelt, rye, oat)

  • for enhanced technological quality of final products (bread, breakfast cereals, pastries);
  • preparation of new products based on flour mixtures of different cereal species combining nutritional and technological advantages of individual components (e.g. spelt – rye or spelt - oat combinations); and
  • propose and verify technological procedures enabling stabilization or natural increase of nutritional value of final cereals products.

WP7: Assessing nutritional content of minor cereals and their effects on human cell cultures

WP7 is focused on identifying and characterization of genotypes of oat, rye, spelt, einkorn and emmer with (i) very high and low concentrations of selected micronutrients (e.g., Zn, Fe, Se) and bioactive compounds (e.g., beta-glucan, total fibers, phenolics, total antioxidant capacity) and (ii) high impact in preventing apoptotic cell death and oxidative cell damage in human cell cultures.

WP8: Enhance the market prominence for minor cereals

WP8 applies a case study approach to carry out research on the economic potential of minor cereals and to propose recommendations how to increase the market potential of minor cereal species.

WP9: Demonstration activities

WP9 involves demonstration events of best agronomic practice to show innovative agronomic management systems to farmers and consultants in agriculture. Equally this WP will include technological trials for flour production with the aim to adapt the standard technologies to the needs of novel product prototypes (breakfast cereals, baked goods). Different techniques (high-rate fractionation, turbo mills, impact roller, pneumatic peeling, impact hulling, sifting, air separation, fine grain sifting) will be evaluated for flour production and comparison studies for quality throughput level and low-cost principles will be performed.

WP10: Dissemination and exploitation of project results, and management of intellectual property

HealthyMinorCereals project results will be of major interest for the European agri-food sector and the scientific community. A wide range of dissemination activities are designed to suit the target groups relevant for the project:

  • farmers: arable farmers, particularly those using organic/low input methods;
  • crop breeders;
  • food/feed industry: especially manufacturers of bakery and cereal products;
  • consumers: current and potential consumers of minor cereal-based products, who may benefit from increased choice and availability, and nutritional value;
  • researchers: research groups investigating cereal genetics, agronomy, mechanisms of nutrient accumulation, stress tolerance, cereals processing, and other aspects

Project results are to be disseminated via scientific publications, project leaflets and posters, at field days, trade events, open days at partners, and via media (newsletter, specialist journals, web site, videos and film).

WP11: Scientific coordination

This WP is designed to monitor and evaluate scientific progress and timely completion of deliverables and milestones, manage research risks, and coordinate preparation and timely submission of periodic and final activity reports to the Commission

WP12: Administrative management

This WP is specifically designed to coordinate the project as a whole and accomplish all administrative, legal and financial tasks.