The complimentary skills of the partners and the joint platforms will be brought together in a research programme on “Exploiting phenology and adaptation to improve the efficiency of nitrogen use in wheat.”

The core of the project will be precision field trials in which the fate of nitrogen in the plant will be followed from uptake to seed maturity, at limiting and adequate levels of fertilisation. Impacts on grain yield and grain quality will also be studied. Three field trials will be carried out in the UK and India, using spring type lines grown from March to August in the UK and from October to April in India. These lines will be studied in detail using the platform technologies in Exemplar Projects 1-4, providing information on the relationship between performance and phenology:

E1: N uptake efficiency

E2: Nitrogen-Utilization Efficiency

E3: N partitioning to grain and grain quality

E4: Gene discovery and marker development

A reductive approach will be used in which the numbers of lines will be reduced but the level of detail of analysis increased from year to year. The work carried out in the field will provide a basis for more detailed studies of the same lines in glasshouse and hydroponic systems, notably in Exemplar Projects E1 and E2. These will provided detailed biochemical and molecular understanding of the traits measured in the field studies.