BEST-CROP will capitalize on very promising strategies to improve the photosynthetic properties and ozone assimilation of barley. To do so, BEST-CROP aims to exploit barley natural- and induced-genetic variability as well as gene editing and transgenic engineering. Based on precedent, BEST-CROP expects that improving targeted traits will result in increases in above-ground total biomass production by 15-20% without modification of the harvest index, and there will be added benefits in sustainability via better resource-use efficiency of water and nitrogen.

To achieve these goals, BEST-CROP will advance the state of the art by addressing the following specific objectives:

1) Increase photosynthetic efficiency by:

Decreasing leaf chlorophyll content and modifying canopy architecture to improve radiation use efficiency;

Increasing the kinetics of non-photochemical quenching;

Improve the productivity under environmental stresses;

Introducing photorespiration bypasses to reduce the yield penalty.

2) Increase O3 uptake by:

Enhancing plant gas-exchange via modulation of stomatal opening.

3) Tailor barley straw to: 

Increase straw protein content (to 8-10%) to make it suitable as an alternative feed production source;

Control cellulose/lignin contents and lignin properties to suit downstream applications.

4) Transform barley straw into high-value bio-based products for: 

The feed and green chemistry sectors to convert protein-rich straw into high-quality protein for animal feed and fatty acids for bio-lubricants;

The building and composites sectors by using straw with optimised cellulose/lignin content and properties to develop construction panels with improved thermal insulation and fire retardancy, and straw-reinforced polymer composites with improved lightness and mechanical performance.

5) Implement demonstrators at pilot scale to verify the productivity of Next Generation barley Plants, the feasibility of barley straw based-products and their related value chains.

6) Assess the environmental and techno-economic sustainability and feasibility of these strategies.

7) Communicate social and environmental benefits associated with BEST-CROP innovations.

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Funded by the European Union  |  Grant Agreement No 101082091

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them

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