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Plant, Food & Climate


Below please find a selection of ongoing research projects. Project descriptions for several of them are publicly available on websites which can be linked to from this page:

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  1. DFF-green transmission project: Impact of plant-based diet on the consumption of health promoting microRNA’s

    Martin Krøyer Rasmussen, Milena Corredig & Rong Zhou

    With today’s climate changes and limited resources, the availability of high quality proteins for consumption is increasingly challenged. Plant-based alternative protein sources has been identified. However, animal based food ingredients (e.g. milk) contains exosomes encapsulating microRNA (miRNA) with health beneficial properties. Thus, minor compounds of importance for health are provided by the food and we are currently lacking knowledge about these in plant-based diets. To deliver this, the aim of this project is to map dietary plants that contains exosomes with miRNA and provide proof-of-concept by demonstrating that the exosomes are prone to processing, digestion and has biological activity. This is done by 1) documenting the content of exosomes and miRNA in dietary plants, 2) determine the stability towards food processing and human digestion and 3) deliver knowledge on the health beneficial properties of the exosomes and how to increase the health potential of plants.Description


  2. HyPErFarm - Hydrogen and photovoltaic electrification on farm

    Gabriele Torma, Jessica Aschemann-Witzel, Uffe Jørgensen, Marta Victoria, Jeroen Pullens, Carl-Otto Ottosen, Claus Hunsballe & Alea Scovill

    The EU Horizon 2020 Innovation Action project “HyPErFarm - Hydrogen and photovoltaic electrification on farm” is a collaboration with 14 partners, in particular in Denmark, Germany and Belgium. The Department of Management will study the business case and public acceptability of agro-voltaic systems with dual land use for crop production and simultaneous power production. The project contributes to the general management and marketing and consumer behaviour field as well as to the study of farmer, citizen, and consumer acceptance of a sustainable technological innovation in particular. Description


  3. MUDP-ETV project: ‘Waste to Value – Biofertilizer’

    Rong Zhou, Søren Ugilt Larsen & Mai-Britt Brøndum

    English description of task 2 and 5 that AU-FOOD was involved

    2. Fertilizer efficacy test and uptake of nutrients N, P and K in the compost product
    The fertilizer effect of the compost product is tested in cultivation experiments in pots in greenhouses at AU-FOOD in Skejby. The compost product is analyzed for the content of the most important plant nutrients and, depending on the nutrient composition of the compost product, the experiments will focus primarily on the macronutrients N, P and K. In the cultivation experiments, plant growth is measured in terms of plant height, fresh weight and dry weight per plant and nutrient uptake at the end of the experiment, and possibly other relevant quality parameters are considered. In the experiments, the three compost products are tested (possibly in two doses) and compared with a number of references with different levels of the selected nutrient added as commercial fertilizer, which will be used to generate a dose-response curve. From the dose-response curve, the relative fertilizer effect of the compost product is calculated compared to fertilization with the nutrient from commercial fertilizer.
    NOTE: It must be clarified which plant species the test is to be carried out with and if two plant species can be used. This is clarified between AU, TI and Bacess.
    Responsible: AU and TI (Bioresources and Biorefining). The trial is planned jointly between AU and TI. AU is responsible for establishing, fertilizing and irrigating the trial and assisting in the assessment. TI assists in establishing and assessing the trial and for doing statistical analysis of the results.
    Approximate budget: 164,000 DKR (94,000 for AU + 80,000 DKR for TI)

    5. Water-holding capacity of growth substrates amended with compost product
    The water-holding capacity of the three compost products is tested by incorporating a certain proportion of compost into another growth substrate such as sphagnum peat or the like, at doses similar to those used in cultivation experiments under point 2. As a reference, another growth substrate is used without amendment with compost. Water holding capacity is measured by measuring the total water content at full irrigation, after drainage to 'pot capacity' and after complete drying. This is supplemented by measuring water potential (tension) to obtain a retention curve and knowledge of how much plant-available water the product/substrate mixture can contain at different water potentials.
    Responsible: AU
    Approximate budget: 52,000 DKR

    Projekt period: 2021 Jan-2022 Dec
    Finansing: whole budget, 986,000 DKK (146,000 DKK for au)
    Collaborators: company Bacess A/S, DTI
    Participants (bot AU an external people): Rong Zhou, Søren Ugilt Larsen <slar@teknologisk.dk> and Mai-Britt Brøndum <maib@teknologisk.dk>


  4. Phenotyping towards more resilient and sustainable crops

    Rong Zhou, Carl-Otto Ottosen, Bernd Wollenweber & Xiangnan Li

    It is predicted that atmospheric CO2 concentration will rise globally to 550 ppm in the middle of the present century and double in the end of the century but is accompanied by major fluctuations in both temperature and water supply. The challenge is how and why some genotypes are able to cope with multiple stress. Melatonin is a well-known hormone associated with diurnal regulations in plants and animals. We aim to use both wild and cultivated genotypes of tomato to study the roles of melatonin to clarify how it affects the responses to elevated CO2 and combined stress (heat, drought). The physiological, metabolic and genetic responses will help us understand the potential functions of melatonin. It is our hypothesis that melatonin might alleviate the detrimental effects of some stresses and facilitate the recovery by photosynthesis and antioxidant capacity. This will provide understanding of the hormonal effect on the sensitivity to the complex effects of global climate changes.

    Funding: Aarhus University AUFF grants

    Collaborator: Prof. Carl-Otto Ottosen, Prof. Bernd Wollenweber from Aarhus University and Prof. Xiangnan Li from Northeast Institute of Geography and Agroecology, China