The Organic Plant Breeding Fund is dedicated to the financial support of the special endowed chair in Organic Plant Breeding at Wageningen University.
What does the fund do?The fund will be used to finance an endowed professorship. The fund will also provide support of research projects in keeping with the teaching and research remit.
The impact of your gift
Thanks to your donation, young researchers like Jingsong Li will be able to defend their dissertations. Jingsong is the first PhD student in this group. She defended at Wageningen in May 2012. Her thesis, ‘Inducing multi-level institutional change through participatory plant breeding in southwest China’, was evaluated by the committee as ‘good’, and her defence was evaluated as ‘very good’. Four of her five chapters have been accepted for publication in academic journals.
In the field of plant breeding, organic agriculture is a new area. The emphasis in the research themes is on the challenges that organic and low-input soil and fertilisation regimes pose for plant strains, such as adjustment to low nitrogen issue (N-efficiency), better rooting, and what the added value of selection in an organic crop is.
'But institutional aspects also play an important role in this subject,' says dissertation advisor Prof. Edith Lammerts van Bueren. 'My assumption is that the subjects that are most pertinent to organic agriculture will, sooner or later, also be important to conventional agriculture, which has a need to move towards more sustainability.'
There are eight PhD students working in this group. Three of them are expected to complete their PhD's in 2013: 1) on wheat and onion strains adapted to organic farming, 2) on better rooting for robust lettuce strains and 3) on broccoli and the potential for strains that perform better and deliver better quality to the consumer.
In early 2013, a new PhD student will also be starting on a topic relating to resistance management of Phytophthora in potato.
The Organic Plant Breeding group has as its remit the development of concepts and strategies for organic plant improvement in the production of input material.
In addition, the group intends to use publications and theses to show that organic plant breeding produces innovative and sufficiently scientific output, making it worthy of its own scientific field. Further, the group hopes to attract master's students with its contributions to the teaching programme. The Organic Plant Breeding & Seed Production master's course is offered every year.
The Organic Plant Breeding Fund Board of Trustees is comprised of:
- Prof. R.G.F. Visser, Prof. and chair Wageningen UR Plant Breeding
- Prof E. Jacobsen, professor emeritus, Plant Breeding
- J. Velema, plant breeder, Vitalis Biologische Zaden B.V