Euronews FUTURIS Visits the Agricultural Research Institute, Cyprus
The renowned Euronews programme FUTURIS, covering the latest news about the leading scientific and technological research projects in Europe, visited the field phenotyping trials and the Agrobiotechnology laboratories of the Agricultural Research Institute (ARI) in Cyprus. Specifically, the filmed activities are part of the H2020 project DIVERSIFOOD, coordinated by INRA. ARI researchers showed their innovative method of field phenotyping of individual plants, based on the principles of the Prognostic Breeding paradigm and the unique properties of the honeycomb selection designs. The advantages of this method are multiple, including excellent control of the detrimental effects of soil heterogeneity and of plant competitive interactions on the phenotypic expression and differentiation. The method is applicable to all crops and environments and allows for precise and accurate measurements of all relevant phenotypic parameters of above and below ground biomass, including those underlying quantitative traits (e.g., yield, stability of yield, responsiveness to inputs, homeostasis). Thanks to the component analysis of crop yield potential, results are directly applicable to crop stands. The wide distances employed between plants combined with the precision of the honeycomb designs offer unprecedented opportunities to study individual roots and the associated microbiome, overcoming the obstacles of entangled root systems that is a barrier in conventional phenotyping approaches.