protein crop, weed, yield stability, aquatic farming, circular agrosystem
Cooperation Interest: domestication of novel more resource efficient crops. In this case the floating fern/cyanobacteria symbiosis Azolla
The floating ferns Azolla do not require any nitrogen input for optimum productivity at 35-50 ton dry weight per hectare and year containing some 20% w/w protein. They also do not require arable land and could be an alternative more sustainable crop in delta regions with subsiding soils.
I offer access to genomes of six species, breeding and reproductive technology developed in my laboratory. The Project Azolla could substantially benefit from partners in the following fields:
1 Environmental impact/weediness factors of Azolla and more generally of ferns of the Salviniaceae (ecology?/phenotyping of traits related to weediness, phosphate mining)
2 Improving yield stability of Azolla aquatic farming both by conventional approaches and using genome editing (phytopathology and phycology -these ferns critcally depend on their symbiosis with cyanobacteria)
3 Improving biomass quality or/and on farm conversion to protein/feed (breeding and conversion engineering)
4 Circularization of nutrient flow in the Azolla aquatic farming system (Agrosystem engineering)
Who would be game enough to join in?
Utrecht University is the largest and broadest tertiary education institution in the Netherlands.