SusCrop- ERA-NET

Cofund on Sustainable
Crop Production



Advanced tools for breeding BARley for Intensive and SusTainable Agriculture under climate change scenarios


Source: Luigi Cattivelli


Improving the genetic potential of the seeds is the most effective way to introduce the innovation in agriculture needed to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Plant breeding allows improvement of crop sustainability and yield potential through the introgression of specific traits capable of coping with climate change, disease shifts, and resource limitations. Taking barley both as a target and a model, BARISTA will deliver new breeding strategies and toolkits for boosting crop improvement, leading to new, high-yielding varieties selected to cope with anticipated future climatic conditions. Acceleration of conventional breeding through a combination of high-precision phenotyping, detailed genomic information, high density genetic maps, bioinformatics, and genetic modelling and crop growth simulation methods can provide the quantum leap improvement needed for achieving the SDGs (especially 2, 6, 8, 12, 13, 15) under a rapidly changing global climate.

BARISTA is built on extensive phenotypic and genotypic data generated in previous projects and on current understanding of the genetics of ideotype traits for biotic and abiotic stress resilience. The consortium will work on a common set of germplasm, consisting of ~200 barley spring cultivars extensively genotyped and phenotyped within the previous Exbardiv (ERA-PG 2006), Climbar (FACCE-JPI 2014), and various national projects, a panel of 160 spring barley single- and quadruple-stack lines developed to introgress quantitative resistance against the main barley pathogens, and several novel barley ABA-related mutants of candidate genes affecting water use efficiency (WUE) and drought tolerance.

Source: Luigi Cattivelli

In BARISTA, this germplasm and data resource will drive genomic prediction (GP) and crop simulation models (CSMs) in combination to improve current predictive breeding tools and methods, focusing on phenological adaptation to the different European agro-climatic zones, resilience to climate change factors and disease resistance. In addition, we will dissect traits relevant for barley sustainability and resilience (e.g., water- and nitrogen-use efficiency, culm architecture, disease resistance, flowering time) by using state of the art phenotyping, genetics, and genomics methodologies. Physiological performance of barley varieties and of ABA-related mutants will be evaluated together with their agronomic performance under different growth conditions, ambient and elevated [CO2], and used to improve the models. Sets of barley lines stacking candidate genes conferring quantitative resistance against barley pathogens will be genotyped and tested in relevant environments. New populations carrying sustainability-related traits will be developed as breeding resources, thus contributing to food security for a growing population under climate change and pressure on natural resources. BARISTA will predict which new combinations of alleles are required for future climate scenarios in different target environments, validate models and provide a toolkit for breeding for climate change, and design optimal cross combinations to enhance breeding for specific target environments.

Twelve partners from eight countries will contribute complementary scientific and technological expertise to BARISTA. The partners have internationally recognised experience in crop modelling, plant genomics, plant physiology, barley pre-breeding and breeding, environmental sciences and agricultural advisory services. The impact will be assured through the involvement of private companies (KWS, DE; ISEA, IT; APSOV, IT; Boreal, FI; Agromonegros, ES; DANKO, PL) and agricultural advisory services or public breeding stations (SEGES, DK; ECRI, EE; ICARDA, MA), as partners, subcontractors, and members of the Stakeholder Advisory Board. They will help to deploy the results of the project in commercial breeding programs and disseminate the project results to the seed and processing industries, farmers and other stakeholders.

Picture coordinator BARISTA - Luigi Cattivelli


Dr Luigi Cattivelli
Consiglio per la ricerca in agricoltura e l'analisi dell'economia agraria (CREA)-Research centre for genomics and bioinformatics, ITALY


Project webpage:



Prof Laura Rossini
Università degli Studi di Milano, Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences - Production, Landscape, Agroenergy (DiSAA), ITALY

Prof Alan Schulman
Luonnonvarakeskus (Luke), Production Systems, FINLAND

Dr Ana M Casas
Estación Experimental Aula Dei-CSIC, Genetics and Plant Production, SPAIN

Prof Klaus Pillen
Martin-Luther-University Halle/Wittenberg, Institute of Agricultural and Nutrional Sciences, GERMANY

Prof Reimund P Roetter
University of Goettingen, Department of Crop Sciences, GERMANY

Prof Soren K. Rasmussen
University of Copenhagen, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, DENMARK

Prof Robbie Waugh
James Hutton Institute, UK

Prof Hannes Kollist
University of Tartu, Institute of Technology, ESTONIA

Dr Agata Daszkowska-Golec
University of Silesia in Katowice, Faculty of Biology and Environmental Protection, Department of Genetics, POLAND

Dr Leif Knudsen
SEGES Landbrug & Fødevarer F.m.b.A. Planteinnovation, DENMARK

Dr Mati Koppel
Estonian Crop Research Institute, ESTONIA