Climate change and increased population growth are challenging sustainable food production. The Carlsberg Foundation now grants DKK 19.5 million (3.18 million USD) to a new Semper Ardens research project anchored by Carlsberg Research Laboratory, which together with several partners aims to develop climate-tolerant plants with higher yields and better nutritional value.
The project will focus on the one-yearly crop Sorghum, which can become an ideal source of starch and protein in areas exposed to drought. The project will also investigate the possibility of rapid development of perennial crops, which promote the accumulation of carbon in the soil and have an efficient uptake of nutrients thanks to a significantly larger root system.
The researchers will conduct an in-depth and exploratory analysis of the mechanisms activated under the stress conditions that arise during for instance heat and drought. The formation of proteins, carbohydrates, cell walls and other substances will also be examined. The results will be used to identify specific genes highly significant to drought tolerance, disease resistance, harvest yield and nutritional value and will enable the identification of genetic variants that can improve said characteristics in the Sorghum crop.