Ohio State University Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering (FABE) Assistant Professor Dr. Darren Drewry will lead a new project funded by the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI). The new project is titled “Developing Field-Based High-Throughput Phenotyping for Coffee Yield, Physiological Performance and Disease Resistance” and will be funded through AFRI’s Plant Breeding for Agricultural Production program.
With a retail value of $200 billion globally, coffee is one of the most important global crop commodities. This project will bring modern high-throughput phenotyping (HTP) techniques to coffee breeding through the integration of hyper-spectral reflectance and gas exchange observations, machine learning and genetics. Perennial fruit crops such as coffee involve challenges to breeding beyond those faced by most annual crops, including smaller populations, longer breeding cycles and larger areas for field evaluations. These challenges are compounded by coffee which is grown in widely diverse biophysical environments and agronomic systems. This highly collaborative project will bring modern HTP tools to bear on a new coffee breeding population that will be grown and evaluated at an array of sites globally.
This project represents a unique collaboration between Ohio State University, World Coffee Research, the USDA Agricultural Research Service in Hilo, Hawaii, the Hawaii Agriculture Research Center and members of the Hawaii Coffee Association and the Kona Coffee Farmers Association.
“This is a wonderful opportunity to work with a great set of collaborators to develop phenomic methods to both improve selection and increase genetic gain in coffee,” said Dr. Drewry. “A key focus of this work will be the development of techniques that can be generalized to coffee breeding and evaluation programs across the globe.”
A key member of this collaboration is Dr. Jorge Berny Mier y Teran, a Research Scientist in Breeding and Genomics for World Coffee Research (WCR) who is overseeing the development of a new coffee breeding population.
“This is an extremely timely opportunity to advance coffee productivity and resilience through phenomics given our new initiative at WCR to breed more productive varieties in a faster and more efficient way,” said Dr. Berny Mier y Teran.
The “Developing Field-Based High-Throughput Phenotyping for Coffee Yield, Physiological Performance and Disease Resistance” project is slated to begin in 2023.
Congratulations to Dr. Drewry and the team!