Canadian Field Crop Genetics Improvement Cluster, Activity 7: Breeding soybeans for adaptation to environment and emerging pests and concurrent development of molecular marker selection tools: Development of soybean cyst nematode (SCN) resistant early matu

Principal Investigator

Louise O’Donoughue

Research Institution

Centre de recherche sur les grains (CÉROM)

External Funding Partners

This project is part of the $10.3 million Canadian Field Crop Genetics Improvement Cluster funded by the Canadian Field Crop Research Alliance (CFCRA) and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) through the Industry-Led Research and Development Stream of the Growing Forward 2 AgriInnovation Program. Grain Farmers of Ontario is a founding member of the CFCRA.

Project Start

April 2013

Project End

March 2018

Objectives

  • Identify and validate new sources of resistances that will be resistant to the soybean cyst nematode (SCN) populations representative of the major races found in Ontario.
  • Develop breeding populations and advanced lines by performing crosses between agronomically superior early maturity lines and the best sources of SCN resistance.

Impact

  • The identification of new sources of resistance that will be effective against the soybean cyst nematode (SCN) populations which are present in Ontario.
  • The development of SCN resistant feed type soybean cultivars adapted to Canadian environments of maturity 000 to I.
  • The continued competitiveness of soybean production in Canada despite the presence of this very serious pest.

Scientific Summary

Soybean cyst nematode (SCN) is the most devastating pathogen of soybean worldwide. SCN is present in most soybean growing areas of Southern Ontario and has also recently been identified in Québec. The only effective method of control for SCN is the use of resistant cultivars combined with non-host crop rotations. Some resistant cultivars have been bred for southern regions of Ontario but very few such cultivars are available for earlier maturity regions. The same resistance source (PI 88788) has been used for over 90% of the resistant cultivars in North America and there has been a breakdown of resistance in several U.S. states and Ontario. There is an urgent need to identify new sources of resistance that will be effective against the SCN populations that are present in Ontario and Québec.

The project brings together expertise in nematology and plant breeding The project will ensure that soybean SCN research targets the development of resistant varieties adapted to Canada and that soybean production in Canada remains competitive despite the presence of this very serious pest.

Canadian Field Crop Genetics Improvement Cluster, Activity 13: In vitro and in vivo amino acid digestibility of selected soybean, oat, and wheat varieties to identify targets with high protein quality and digestibility for future variety development

Principal Investigator

Lamia L’Hocine

Research Institution

Saint-Hyacinthe Research and Development Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)

External Funding Partners

This project is part of the $10.3 million Canadian Field Crop Genetics Improvement Cluster funded by the Canadian Field Crop Research Alliance (CFCRA) and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) through the Industry-Led Research and Development Stream of the Growing Forward 2 AgriInnovation Program. Grain Farmers of Ontario is a founding member of the CFCRA.

Project Start

April 2013

Project End

March 2018

Objectives

  • Select varieties of soybean, oat, and wheat with high protein quality traits (i.e., high protein and amino acid digestibility and high contents of limiting amino acids) that will meet protein quality claims based on new Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) recommendations.
  • Study the impact of variety and selected processing treatments on protein and amino acid digestibility using current and revised FAO recommendations for protein quality assessment.
  • Identify varieties of soybean, oat, and wheat with bioactive peptide and prebiotic potential that could be marketed for their promotion of digestive health.
  • Study the functional properties of varieties with the most promising traits to identify targets for future varietal development.

Impact

  • New information on the protein quality of Canadian soybean, oat, and wheat varieties based on the new Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations’ recommendation for protein quality assessment.
  • The development of specific varieties/market classes of Canadian soybean, oat, and wheat for food uses.
  • The improvement of nutritional quality of Canadian soybean, oat, and wheat.

Scientific Summary

Proteins are part of a balanced diet to promote health and provide all essential amino acids to achieve desired bodily functions. Protein quality is affected by the presence of anti-nutritional factors such as trypsin inhibitors, phytic acid and tannins. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations has recently released a new revised protein quality measure for human health called the Digestible Indispensable Amino Acid Score (DIAAS), which is used to assess the nutritional value of a protein by its contribution to amino acid and nitrogen requirements and the amounts of amino acids absorbed by the body. As plant proteins have lower digestibility than animal proteins, this could dramatically change their protein quality rating. Thus detailed assessment of the impact of varietal differences on protein quality and digestibility of Canadian soybean, oat, and wheat using the revised recommendations is warranted in order to inform future varietal development work.

This project will allow high protein quality varieties to be identified for developmental research, with a positive impact on Canadian producers and processors. One of the objectives of this project is to assess the effect of varietal differences of Canadian soybean, oat, and wheat on protein quality and digestibility. Canadian varieties were selected and acquired from breeders. They included cultivars with high and low protein content. A Gene (G) x Environment (E) effect (variety x location) was also considered in the case of oat. In the first stage of this project, the nutritional quality of the selected soybean, oat, and wheat varieties was assessed on the basis of amino acid composition, the digestibility using an in vitro static method, and the calculation of the new DIAAS. In the second stage, selected varieties will be also subjected to in vitro semi dynamic and in vivo protein and an ileal AA digestibility tests. Raw and cooked flours (to simulate processed real-life samples) from the selected varieties will be analysed to assess the impact of processing (thermal treatment) on protein and amino acid digestibility. Their prebiotic and bioactive potential will be also evaluated.

National Wheat Improvement Program Cluster, Activity 32, Identification of expression QTLs (eQTLs) for Fusarium Head Blight resistance and susceptibility in wheat

Principal Investigator

Thérèse Ouellet

Research Institution

Ottawa Research and Development Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)

External Funding Partners

This project is part of the $25.2 million National Wheat Improvement Program funded by the Western Grains Research Foundation (WGRF), the Canadian Field Crop Research Alliance (CFCRA), the Alberta Wheat Commission (AWC), and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) through the Industry-Led Research and Development Stream of the Growing Forward 2 AgriInnovation Program. Grain Farmers of Ontario is a founding member of the CFCRA.

Project Start

April 2013

Project End

March 2018

Objectives

  • Identify genetic markers associated with gene expression patterns that correlate with resistance or susceptibility to Fusarium Head Blight (FHB) in spring wheat.
  • Identify additional wheat breeding material carrying the expressed quantitative traits (eQTLs) discovered in project by testing spring wheat lines from 6 Canadian breeding programs; this will include a comparative field evaluation for FHB disease resistance over three field seasons at one site.
  • Validate the association between the genetic markers and the expressed genes identifying the eQTLs by testing gene expression in subsets of lines that are contrasting for the presence of the eQTLs.

Impact

  • The improvement of FHB resistance in Canadian wheat breeding programs through identification of wheat genes or expressed quantitative traits (eQTLs) associated with increased susceptibility to FHB and with resistance to FHB.
  • The improvement of food security by reducing the incidence of deoxynivalenol (DON) accumulation through the efforts of wheat breeding.

Scientific Summary

Even though a majority of wheat breeding programs in Canada have deployed significant efforts towards improving resistance for Fusarium Head Blight (FHB) during the last 20 years, progress has been slow and FHB still remains a priority problem for the industry. The identification of genetic markers associated with resistance to FHB has accelerated the improvement of resistance to FHB by allowing breeding programs for spring and winter wheat to track genetic loci for quantitative traits (QTLs) contributing to that resistance. QTLs for resistance to FHB have been identified so far from field disease rating and deoxynivalenol (DON) accumulation data. However, the known QTLs for resistance to FHB in wheat capture only part of the resistance observed in the field.

This project uses a different approach, called differential gene expression, to identify genetic markers associated with expression QTLs (eQTLs) that cannot be detected by conventional marker discovery work using field data. Our group at AAFC-ORDC, Ottawa, has developed a database of global gene expression profiles from FHB-susceptible and -resistant wheat varieties/breeding lines when infected by Fusarium graminearum. Comparative analysis of those expression profiles followed by experimental validation has led to the identification of genes contributing to either susceptibility or resistance to FHB. We propose to complement this work by using a high throughput sequencing technology (RNASeq) for comparative expression profiling on a double haploid population segregating for FHB resistance that is being mapped with the 90K wheat SNP chip in a separate project. This will allow us to validate the correlation to resistance or susceptibility for additional candidate genes and identify if they are associated with new or known QTL or new eQTLs identified from this and the mapping work. Genetic markers associated with QTLs/eQTLs for susceptibility or resistance to FHB will be tested on a panel of 120 spring wheat breeding lines and varieties from 6 Canadian spring wheat breeding programs, to identify material that carry the novel QTLs/eQTLs and provide breeders with additional options in their strategies to improve resistance to FHB.