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RADIANT: Realising dynamic value chains for underutilised crops

Biodiversity is hugely important for the functioning of natural systems, and restoring biodiverse ecosystems is an essential part of our fight against climate change. Biodiversity is key to food, nutrition and economic security, particularly for small farmers and farming communities in rural areas. There are around 259,000 plant species on our planet, of which 50,000 …

Evolving grass pea from ‘orphan’ crop to staple food

This post is written by Drs Peter Emmrich and Levi Yant.  Malnutrition from protein deficiency is a widespread problem and concern. Populations in the developing world are at particular risk due to the higher costs of animal proteins when compared to plant proteins. These populations therefore tend to rely on protein-rich plant-based foods like beans, …

Bambara groundnut for food and nutritional security

This post is written by Tan Xin Lin. Xin Lin is a post-graduate student with the BamBREED project, supervised by Dr Susan Azam Ali and Prof Festo Massawe. Her study aims to explore the hard-to-cook phenomenon of Bambara groundnut through the evaluation of physical, hydration, microstructural and compositional characteristics associated with various Bambara groundnut genotypes. She …

How can the winged bean improve our futures? An interview with Chong Yuet Tian

Tian is a Future Food Beacon Malaysia PhD student under the supervision of Prof. Festo Massawe, Dr. Hui Hui Chai and Dr. Ajit Singh. She obtained a BSc (Hons) in Agricultural Science before joining University of Nottingham Malaysia to research genetic improvement of crop plants, especially minor and underutilised crops. She is currently researching winged …

Crops for the future: the case of the winged bean – by Chong Yuet Tian

Future Food Beacon researchers in Malaysia and the UK are working with partners globally to utilise crop diversity to plug gaps in food production. We aim to address nutrition security challenges by making a diverse range of healthy food crops available and accessible to all. In addition to the flagship project on Bambara groundnut, Future …

Understanding genetic variation in winged bean: an interview with Niki Tsoutsoura

Niki is a PhD candidate with the Future Proteins Platform. Niki holds an MSc. in Crop Improvement from the University of Nottingham. During her MSc studies, she became familiar with underutilised crops like winged bean. Underutilised crops are relatively underexploited as they have low economic importance or agricultural significance in developed economies, therefore they receive …

Redefining pearl millet: Dr Ndjido Kane

Dr Ndjido Kane is a plant geneticist and molecular biologist, based at Institut Sénégalais de Recherches Agricoles. Dr Kane directs CERAAS, part of the Institut Sénégalais de Recherches Agricoles (ISRA). CERAAS specialises in drought adaptation of plants in West and Central Africa. In this interview, Ndjido talks to Lexi Earl about his research on pearl …

Giant Swamp Taro: plant for the future?

Giant Swamp Taro (Cyrtosperma merkusii) is an underutilised but highly productive plant native to the North Sulawesi region of Indonesia. It can grow up to 5 metres tall, and may produce tubers underground that are 2 metres in diameter and up to 3 metres in length. It grows in flooded, brackish conditions. This makes it an …