Sharing innovations in precision phenotyping and root system analysis in Morocco

Sharing innovations in precision phenotyping and root system analysis in Morocco

Root2Res invited farmers and breeders to a field exhibition, showcasing a long-demanded toolbox for rapid assessment of crop traits below ground

During the recent workshop in Morocco, stakeholders convened to explore the latest advancements in precision phenotyping and root system analysis. Hosted in the Mediterranean region experimental site on February 28th, the event served as a platform to showcase technologies developed through collaboration between ICARDA, INRA, and CIMMYT.

The workshop kicked off with an introduction to the Root2Res project, which set the stage for an in-depth exploration of cutting-edge agricultural technologies. This was followed by a demonstration of the ICARDA-INRA Heat and Drought Precision Phenotyping Platform. Developed in collaboration with the National Institute for Agricultural Research of Morocco (INRA) and the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT), this precision phenotyping platform features a fully automated lysimeter, known as PhysioTron, housed within a rainout shelter. Equipped with a High-Throughput Phenotyping (HTP) system tailored for studies on drought and heat stress tolerance, this platform collects crucial data from various ICARDA strategic testing locations across its mandate region. These data are amalgamated and utilized to furnish elite germplasm to National Agricultural Research and Extension Systems (NARES) partners. Additionally, the HTP system utilized in Root2Res, stationed at ARVALIS’ sites in Ouzouer le Marché -a transitional agroclimatic zone in France- and Gréoux les Bains -Mediterranean climate, also in France-, was showcased, providing attendees with insights into its operational capabilities.

Learn about Root2Res objectives and partnership

Attendees also had the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the Phenobuggy — a tractor-mounted, GPS-assisted multi-sensor head. Discussions ensued regarding the crop traits measurable through these devices and their pivotal role in breeding schemes. Notably, the Phenobuggy enables rapid and precise measurement of phenotypic traits such as green fraction, senescence, vegetation indices, leaf area index, biomass, spike number, and plant height. Conversations underscored the importance of developing proxy approaches that connect above-ground measurements with root traits.

Subsequent sessions delved into soil coring, root seminal angle measurement using the clear pot method, and shovelomics sampling, along with data collection employing WinRhizo. WinRhizo, an image analysis system tailored for root measurement, encompasses morphology, topology, architecture, and color analyses. The significance of standardizing root system characteristics for image analysis was discussed, alongside recognition of error dependency on the response variable of interest, potentially influencing effect size and error probability. Method validation for each analyzed dataset was deemed essential. Furthermore, insights were shared on how root system morphology influences crop adaptation to diverse soil types, drawing upon the experiences of ICARDA and INRA across different experimental stations in Morocco.

The concluding segment of the workshop focused on data analysis, machine learning, and phenomic selection. Breeders emphasized the need for approaches facilitating precise evaluation of genetic variability in quantitative traits, given their pivotal role in breeding endeavors. This necessitates the deployment of accurate, rapid, and cost-effective evaluation tools. For intricate traits such as yield, genomic selection emerged as a viable option, leveraging genome-wide marker data to estimate breeding values. Alternatively, phenomic prediction, facilitated by multimodal machine learning models, seeks to predict the performance of untested individuals through the amalgamation of genomic, phenomic, and environmental data. Consensus among participants affirmed the compatibility of this predictive approach in augmenting genetic gains in plant breeding.

By fostering collaboration and sharing best practices in root system analysis and phenotyping, the workshop emerged as a pivotal forum for the exchange of pertinent information pertaining to the agropedoclimatic conditions and specificities of the Mediterranean experimental site chosen by Root2Res, or Agroclimatic Zone 3 (ACZ3). Local demonstrators can be found in this website’s homepage

Recent posts

Jülich exceeds expectations with the workshop on Root Phenotyping

The joint initiative of Root2Res, RootEd and WishRoots brought together researchers, students and end-users in a two-day controlled environment demonstration

Root2Res, ever closer to local users for stable yields and improved soil properties

The EU-funded project gathered in Spain in parallel to the Mission Soil Week, reflecting on a first year pursuing root systems ready for climate change

ROOT2RES 1st Annual Meeting: Cultivating Innovation in Santiago de Compostela

Excitement is brewing as ROOT2RES, the European project focused on enhancing crop resilience through innovative root systems, gears...

Jülich exceeds expectations with the workshop on Root Phenotyping

Jülich exceeds expectations with the workshop on Root Phenotyping

The joint initiative of Root2Res, RootEd and WishRoots brought together researchers, students and end-users in a two-day controlled environment demonstration  

Sebastian Erdrich – FZ-J

With 58 in person participants and another 20 people registered online, the workshop on Root Phenotyping and Image Analysis held in Jülich proved the relevance of these practices for the agricultural systems of the future. Speakers from 8 different organisations combined theory and practice in a fully packed agenda, covering from nutrient availability to microbiota, from shoveling to imaging. The successful two-day event in a controlled environment is now to be followed by ICARDA with a demonstration on field conditions on February 28th in Morocco.  

Learn about Root2Res objectives and partnership

The facilities of the Forschungszentrum Jülich, in the German region of Aachen, witnessed the arrival of fellow researchers and end-users for a live demonstration on the 5th and 6th of February. Although within the context of the second Work Package of Root2Res, dedicated to the Phenotyping Toolbox, the initiative also featured project WishRoots and the doctoral network of RootEd as co-contributors, with invited speakers from the University of Bologna, UC Louvain and the University of Nottingham. The delegation of Root2Res was plentiful on its own: the James Hutton Institute, BOKU, CNR, UFZ and FZ-J themselves addressed the hybrid audience. Besides, the workshop welcomed representatives from Eurofins, PSI and Yara, for the agricultural value chain, and abroad students from the RootEd Winter School.  

The Phenotyping Toolbox is a series of innovative techniques for the rapid assessment of root traits in both field and controlled conditions. The in-depth characterization of root and related rhizosphere traits is based on envirotyping data, with three contrasting experimental soils chosen from the projects’ core phenotyping facilities Arvalis, ADAS, ICARDA, KIS, each located in a different agroclimatic zone. Root2Res will be presenting these methods next at Sidi el Aidi, Morocco, on the 28th of February.  

Two dozen stakeholders are expected to visit ICARDA’s hub, with the International Plant Phenotyping Network (IPPN) funding the travel of two students from the European Union. Root2Res researcher Raffaella Balestrini (CNR) and Project Coordinator Jean-Pierre Cohan (Arvalis) are to accompany the visit, facilitating the exchange on these solutions with researchers, farmers and breeders facing changing environments. These workshops provide valuable information for the widespread adoption of Phenotyping Tools, the characterisation of species and the accuracy of future project trials. 

Recent posts

Jülich exceeds expectations with the workshop on Root Phenotyping

The joint initiative of Root2Res, RootEd and WishRoots brought together researchers, students and end-users in a two-day controlled environment demonstration

Root2Res, ever closer to local users for stable yields and improved soil properties

The EU-funded project gathered in Spain in parallel to the Mission Soil Week, reflecting on a first year pursuing root systems ready for climate change

ROOT2RES 1st Annual Meeting: Cultivating Innovation in Santiago de Compostela

Excitement is brewing as ROOT2RES, the European project focused on enhancing crop resilience through innovative root systems, gears...

These images were courtesy of Sebastian Erdrich and the Forschungszentrum Jülich

Root2Res, ever closer to local users for stable yields and improved soil properties

Root2Res, ever closer to local users for stable yields and improved soil properties

The joint initiative of Root2Res, RootEd and WishRoots brought together researchers, students and end-users in a two-day controlled environment demonstration  

 

 

A decade after establishing World Soil Day on December 5, the sustainable management of this crucial resource is regarded by society as increasingly important to the sustainability of the environment and our well-being. Growing concern for biodiversity and food security have prompted the European Commission to reinforce the Horizon Europe research programme by funding projects like Root2Res, focused on crop systems ready for future environmental change, and consolidating them via Mission Soil. This month, these two initiatives settled, in parallel events in Spain, providing direction for the imperative collaboration among researchers and end users, namely breeders and farmers. 

Learn about Root2Res objectives and partnership

As the multinational consortium Root2Res met in Santiago de Compostela, the project was also present at Madrid for the Mission Soil Week among other contributors and signatories. The inaugural year of Root2Res has been accompanied by the first results on root phenotyping, ideotyping, plasticity and modelling, with activities involving local stakeholders at core experimental sites in the United Kingdom, France, Slovenia and Morocco, and preparations for joint efforts with complementary projects in early 2024. The ultimate goal is to provide producers with stable yields and soils with improved properties, by developing tools that swiftly address root traits crucial to the tolerance against abiotic stress, specifically fluctuation in water availability.  

Although promising, the study of root systems is rapidly evolving, hence the importance of having local actors on board to bring their expertise, as breeders and agronomists, in order to develop and identify rotational crop cultivars for the European agricultural landscape of the next decade. Root2Res is a singular project in its approach and scope, requiring a complex collaboration of 22 partners across Europe and Africa, covering agroclimatic zones from temperate to mediterranean conditions. In that regard, the recent establishment of a Stakeholder Advisory Board with 8 members has contributed to both geographical and knowledge coverage. As for 2024, Root2Res looks forward to stronger and wider links with the end users, and scientific innovation that together will help us move towards food security and preserved healthy soils.    

 

Jülich exceeds expectations with the workshop on Root Phenotyping

The joint initiative of Root2Res, RootEd and WishRoots brought together researchers, students and end-users in a two-day controlled environment demonstration

Root2Res, ever closer to local users for stable yields and improved soil properties

The EU-funded project gathered in Spain in parallel to the Mission Soil Week, reflecting on a first year pursuing root systems ready for climate change

ROOT2RES 1st Annual Meeting: Cultivating Innovation in Santiago de Compostela

Excitement is brewing as ROOT2RES, the European project focused on enhancing crop resilience through innovative root systems, gears...

ROOT2RES 1st Annual Meeting: Cultivating Innovation in Santiago de Compostela

ROOT2RES 1st Annual Meeting: Cultivating Innovation in Santiago de Compostela

Excitement is brewing as ROOT2RES, the European project focused on enhancing crop resilience through innovative root systems, gears up for its First Annual Meeting in Santiago de Compostela. Scheduled from November 21st to 23rd, this event promises to be a dynamic confluence of insights, updates, and collaborative discussions.

Agenda Highlights:

🌿 Introduction of the SCAB and Core Sites: The meeting kicks off with an insightful introduction to the Scientific and Community Advisory Board (SCAB) and an exploration of the project’s core sites.

🌐 Work Package Updates: It will take place a comprehensive overview of the progress made across the work packages. From root phenotyping tools to genetic markers and modeling, each update unveils the intricate layers of research contributing to the project’s overarching goals.

🔬 Living Lab Visit in Vigo: A highlight of the event is the immersive visit to Vigo’s Living Lab. Participants will witness firsthand the application of innovative root systems and gain insights into how these technologies are implemented in real-world agricultural settings.

🌍 Closure with SCAB Feedback: The meeting concludes with a valuable session featuring feedback from the Scientific and Community Advisory Board. This open dialogue ensures that ROOT2RES continues to evolve and align with the latest advancements and community needs.

Stay Connected: Follow ROOT2RES on social media for live updates, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and highlights from this groundbreaking Annual Meeting. Together, we’re cultivating a future where resilient crops pave the way for sustainable agriculture!

An interview with Root2Res deputy coordinator, Tim George

An interview with Root2Res deputy coordinator, Tim George

this is an extract of the article “Resilient Crops: Rooting for Sustainability in Horizon Europe” published by UKRI

“In the quest for sustainable agriculture, Horizon Europe partners with projects like ROOT2RES, which explores the untapped potential of plant root systems. Roots, often overlooked, are pivotal in nutrient absorption and water retention.

Collaborating closely with Horizon Europe and like-minded stakeholders, ROOT2RES aims to revolutionize crop resilience. Their mission: creating crops that thrive in adversity while reducing agriculture’s environmental impact. This partnership has also secured a Horizon Europe guarantee grant, ensuring the UK’s continued involvement in this vital EU-funded project. This commitment is crucial in the effort to make crops more resilient to climate change.

Discover how this partnership is unearthing solutions to global challenges, such as food security and climate change, by nurturing resilient crops and cultivating a greener future for all.”

Read the full article here.

Pictures Credits: James Hutton Institute

Root2Res at Les Culturales

Root2Res at Les Culturales

Root2Res has participated in Les Culturales, the French biggest field show dedicated to arable crops and organized by ARVALIS. This year, the event gathered 15 000 participants over 2 days, mainly producers, advisors, scientists but also students and policy makers. It was an amazing experience as it was the first time Root2Res joined a large scale fair and met with its french stakeholders.

Root2Res project held a workshop gathering 12 participants with a wide range of profiles (breeders, producers, advisors, agronomists, scientists) in order to determine the priorities in terms of root traits to be further investigated in relation to limiting production factors. It was also discussed the current limitations of root systems phenotyping regarding the different objectives (breeding, agronomic study, measurements in farmers’ fields) and to discuss possible innovations and tools to overcome them.

In addition to this workshop, a visit to the technical area of the show was organized to illustrate the work carried out on root systems by ARVALIS and its partners, notably in relation with roots phenotyping methods. It was an opportunity to demonstrate how soil pits and minirhizotrons work and the root-related information they enable to capture.

Finally, a specific booth dedicated to European project had also been set up and served as a forum for raising awareness among farmers and other agricultural operators of the issues addressed by Root2Res project and the contribution of root systems to the resilience of cropping systems in the face of climate change.

Here you can see some of the pictures that were taken in the event. Thank you to everyone that participated and took photos having a great time there!

Pictures:

Twitter – @CamilleHarel4

Root2Res

ICARDA is offering a PhD fellowship

ICARDA is offering a PhD fellowship

new position has opened within Root2Res, as ICARDA (International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas) aims to hire a researcher in the ICARDA Environment for Moroccan nationals and candidates who have a current residency in Morocco.

All candidates must submit their application before the 1st of August by following this link.

The successful applicant will carry out research that will organize and carry data collection with Phenomobile of the Root2Res trials in Morocco; organize and carry phenotypic data collection in the field and in the Physiotron experiment; Implement trait prediction models based on phenotypic data collection and remote sensing data as well as assisting in any other activities of Root2Res project.

The candidate will be granted a 12-months research fellowship, renewable to a maximum of 48 months subject to satisfactory performance, continuous need of the position and availability of fund.

TEAGASC is looking for a Research Officer

TEAGASC is looking for a Research Officer

Recent posts

Sharing innovations in precision phenotyping and root system analysis in Morocco

Root2Res invited farmers and breeders to a field exhibition, showcasing a long-demanded toolbox for rapid assessment of crop traits below ground

Jülich exceeds expectations with the workshop on Root Phenotyping

The joint initiative of Root2Res, RootEd and WishRoots brought together researchers, students and end-users in a two-day controlled environment demonstration

Root2Res, ever closer to local users for stable yields and improved soil properties

The EU-funded project gathered in Spain in parallel to the Mission Soil Week, reflecting on a first year pursuing root systems ready for climate change

ROOT2RES 1st Annual Meeting: Cultivating Innovation in Santiago de Compostela

Excitement is brewing as ROOT2RES, the European project focused on enhancing crop resilience through innovative root systems, gears up for its First Annual Meeting in Santiago de Compostela. Scheduled from November 21st to 23rd, this event promises to be a dynamic...

An interview with Root2Res deputy coordinator, Tim George

this is an extract of the article "Resilient Crops: Rooting for Sustainability in Horizon Europe" published by UKRI "In the quest for sustainable agriculture, Horizon Europe partners with projects like ROOT2RES, which explores the untapped potential of plant root...

Root2Res at Les Culturales

Root2Res has participated in Les Culturales, the French biggest field show dedicated to arable crops and organized by ARVALIS. This year, the event gathered 15 000 participants over 2 days, mainly producers, advisors, scientists but also students and policy makers. It...

ICARDA is offering a PhD fellowship

A new position has opened within Root2Res, as ICARDA (International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas) aims to hire a researcher in the ICARDA Environment for Moroccan nationals and candidates who have a current residency in Morocco. All...

The University of Dundee looks for a postdoctoral research assistant

A new position has opened within Root2Res, as the University of Dundee aims to gaining novel insights into the molecular basis of root adaptation to the environment

Long-term position open at Teagasc

As part of the Root2Res project, Teagasc is looking for a post doctoral researcher in soil and crop microbiome

Root2Res is launched!

The project Kick-Off Meeting was held in France from September 14 to 16

A new position has opened within Root2Res, as the TEAGASC (Agriculture and Food Development Authority) aims to hire a research officer in the Teagasc Environment, Soils and Land-use Department in Johnstown Castle, Wexford. 

All candidates must submit their application before the 4th of May by following this link.

The successful applicant will carry out research that will increase our understanding of how crop genetics control root and rhizosphere microbial phenotypes, and how these interact with the environment to deliver an integrated crop resilience to climate stress. The impact of plant-soil interactions on the capacity of soil microbial communities to carry out important biogeochemical cycling functions, including carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus cycling, will be assessed on cereal, potato, and legume annual crops. This work will be carried out as part of the Roots2Res project.

Johnstown Castle is well equipped with laboratory, greenhouse and field facilities to support a wide and innovative research programme, as well as 190 hectares of farmland. It has a wide-ranging and active programme on soil and plant microbiomes in agricultural systems.

The University of Dundee looks for a postdoctoral research assistant

The University of Dundee looks for a postdoctoral research assistant

Recent posts

Sharing innovations in precision phenotyping and root system analysis in Morocco

Root2Res invited farmers and breeders to a field exhibition, showcasing a long-demanded toolbox for rapid assessment of crop traits below ground

Jülich exceeds expectations with the workshop on Root Phenotyping

The joint initiative of Root2Res, RootEd and WishRoots brought together researchers, students and end-users in a two-day controlled environment demonstration

Root2Res, ever closer to local users for stable yields and improved soil properties

The EU-funded project gathered in Spain in parallel to the Mission Soil Week, reflecting on a first year pursuing root systems ready for climate change

ROOT2RES 1st Annual Meeting: Cultivating Innovation in Santiago de Compostela

Excitement is brewing as ROOT2RES, the European project focused on enhancing crop resilience through innovative root systems, gears up for its First Annual Meeting in Santiago de Compostela. Scheduled from November 21st to 23rd, this event promises to be a dynamic...

An interview with Root2Res deputy coordinator, Tim George

this is an extract of the article "Resilient Crops: Rooting for Sustainability in Horizon Europe" published by UKRI "In the quest for sustainable agriculture, Horizon Europe partners with projects like ROOT2RES, which explores the untapped potential of plant root...

Root2Res at Les Culturales

Root2Res has participated in Les Culturales, the French biggest field show dedicated to arable crops and organized by ARVALIS. This year, the event gathered 15 000 participants over 2 days, mainly producers, advisors, scientists but also students and policy makers. It...

ICARDA is offering a PhD fellowship

A new position has opened within Root2Res, as ICARDA (International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas) aims to hire a researcher in the ICARDA Environment for Moroccan nationals and candidates who have a current residency in Morocco. All...

The University of Dundee looks for a postdoctoral research assistant

A new position has opened within Root2Res, as the University of Dundee aims to gaining novel insights into the molecular basis of root adaptation to the environment

Long-term position open at Teagasc

As part of the Root2Res project, Teagasc is looking for a post doctoral researcher in soil and crop microbiome

Root2Res is launched!

The project Kick-Off Meeting was held in France from September 14 to 16

A new position has opened within Root2Res, as the University of Dundee aims to gaining novel insights into the molecular basis of root adaptation to the environment. A new postdoctoral research assistant will be granted a fixed-term contract as part of the collaboration between two laboratories, Bulgarelli’s and Hein’s, both part of the School of Life Sciences. All candidates must submit their application before March by following this link

The chosen scientist will contribute to the team based at Dundee by investigating plant microbiota and its contribution to climate modification resilience. Priorities include obtaining metagenomic DNA from plant tissues and social specimens; developing molecular probes targeting microbial genes; next generation sequencing library preparation; and in-silico analysis of microbiome datasets with high performance computers. 

The School of Life Sciences at the University of Dundee is a world-renowned academic institution with over 900 staff across 60 countries, with state-of-the-art facilities for multi-national, collegiate and diverse environment. The Bulgarelli’s lab and the Heins’s lab are part of the Division of Plant Sciences based at the James Hutton Institute on the outskirt of Dundee, Scotland.

Long-term position open at Teagasc

Long-term position open at Teagasc

Recent posts

Sharing innovations in precision phenotyping and root system analysis in Morocco

Root2Res invited farmers and breeders to a field exhibition, showcasing a long-demanded toolbox for rapid assessment of crop traits below ground

Jülich exceeds expectations with the workshop on Root Phenotyping

The joint initiative of Root2Res, RootEd and WishRoots brought together researchers, students and end-users in a two-day controlled environment demonstration

Root2Res, ever closer to local users for stable yields and improved soil properties

The EU-funded project gathered in Spain in parallel to the Mission Soil Week, reflecting on a first year pursuing root systems ready for climate change

ROOT2RES 1st Annual Meeting: Cultivating Innovation in Santiago de Compostela

Excitement is brewing as ROOT2RES, the European project focused on enhancing crop resilience through innovative root systems, gears up for its First Annual Meeting in Santiago de Compostela. Scheduled from November 21st to 23rd, this event promises to be a dynamic...

An interview with Root2Res deputy coordinator, Tim George

this is an extract of the article "Resilient Crops: Rooting for Sustainability in Horizon Europe" published by UKRI "In the quest for sustainable agriculture, Horizon Europe partners with projects like ROOT2RES, which explores the untapped potential of plant root...

Root2Res at Les Culturales

Root2Res has participated in Les Culturales, the French biggest field show dedicated to arable crops and organized by ARVALIS. This year, the event gathered 15 000 participants over 2 days, mainly producers, advisors, scientists but also students and policy makers. It...

ICARDA is offering a PhD fellowship

A new position has opened within Root2Res, as ICARDA (International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas) aims to hire a researcher in the ICARDA Environment for Moroccan nationals and candidates who have a current residency in Morocco. All...

The University of Dundee looks for a postdoctoral research assistant

A new position has opened within Root2Res, as the University of Dundee aims to gaining novel insights into the molecular basis of root adaptation to the environment

Long-term position open at Teagasc

As part of the Root2Res project, Teagasc is looking for a post doctoral researcher in soil and crop microbiome

Root2Res is launched!

The project Kick-Off Meeting was held in France from September 14 to 16

As part of the Root2Res project, Teagasc is looking for a post doctoral researcher in soil and crop microbiome. This long-term contract opportunity is oriented towards studying how crop genetics control root and rhizosphere microbial phenotypes, and how these interact with the environment to deliver an integrated crop resilience to climate stress. Applying process is open until January 17th – follow this link for more information in the Teagasc Opportunities Portal.

The position will be primarily based in the Environment and Land Use Department from Teagasc, based at Johnstown Castle, Wexford. As Ireland’s leading research institute on soils and environment related research and conducts research on soil health, soil-plant interactions, biodiversity, nutrient efficiency, water quality, gaseous emissions and agroecology, they will contribute to the microbial aspects of Root2Res.

Teagasc, the Agriculture and Food Development Authority, is the national public body providing integrated research, advisory, education and training services to the Irish agri-food sector. Its contribution to Root2Res also includes the Crop Science Department, based at Oak Park Research Centre (Carlow), the home of the Teagasc/IPM Potato Group Potato Breeding programme, which is supported by an experienced potato genetics and genomics research group. These groups are focused on identifying and understanding the underlying genetics of potato root characteristics involved in resistance to abiotic stresses.