Referencia: PID2019-107154RB-100

Funding Entity: Ministry of Science and Innovation. Grants for R&D&I Projects Oriented to the Challenges of Society, Call for Proposals 2019

Principal Investigators: Morcuende, R. and Arellano, J.B.

Participants: Usadel, B.; Vicente, R.; Perez de Souza, L.; Miranda Apodaca, J.; Marcos-Barbero, E.; Verdejo, A.; Boyero, M. A.

Duration: 01/06/2020 – 31/05/2024


Together with increases in atmospheric CO concentration2 and average land surface temperature associated with global climate change, an increase in the frequency and intensity of drought episodes is foreseeable. These environmental changes, often occurring simultaneously, may negatively affect agricultural production worldwide, particularly in more vulnerable regions such as the Mediterranean.

Wheat is one of the most widely grown cereals in these regions, where crops are frequently exposed to the simultaneous occurrence of drought and high temperatures. The need to develop crops more tolerant to the combination of environmental factors, which can occur naturally in the field, could be addressed by exploiting the use of molecular techniques as well as exploring the variability of wheat species in order to mitigate the negative effects of climate change on grain yield and quality.

The research team has studied, in the framework of a previous national project (Ref. AGL2016-79589-R), the natural variation in adaptation to high CO2 and high temperature as a function of nitrate availability of ten soft wheat genotypes selected from a CIMMYT wheat collection adapted to high temperatures. The project’s identification of a stable high-yielding genotype offers advantages as a germplasm source to address new challenges in the current situation of water scarcity and reduced rainfall compared to other common and durum wheat species.

In response to these challenges, the overall objective of this research project is to generate new knowledge on drought-induced reprogramming of primary, secondary and antioxidant metabolism at the whole plant level under high CO2and high temperature conditions by integrating transcriptome analysis with physiological and biochemical attributes and their impact on yield potential and nutritional and antioxidant quality of wheat grain.

To achieve this objective, we will investigate (i) variability among wheat species in primary and secondary metabolism and its dependence on water availability under high CO2 and temperature conditions, (ii) variability in antioxidant capacity and activity to understand plant adaptation to the above environmental factors, as well as (iii) variation in yield potential and nutritional and antioxidant quality of the grain.

This research can contribute to the understanding of the factors associated with a more stable and efficient production for improved water use efficiency and adaptation of wheat to climate change. This objective is a priority for the “Research Challenges” projects of the State R&D&I Programme focused on Social Challenge 2 with special interest in the use and conservation of genetic resources in agriculture with better adaptation to climate change.