BASF Teams Up with U of A on Clubroot Research

by | Jun 22, 2022 | Business, Canola, Research

BASF Canada Agricultural Solutions is partnering with the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences (ALES) to study clubroot resistance in canola, a June 22 news release said. BASF is investing $1.25M over a five-year period to support efforts to combat strains of clubroot — a soil-borne disease that causes major damage to canola crops.

“Canola plays a vital role in the Canadian economy, with 90 per cent of canola grown and harvested in Canada being exported to over 50 markets worldwide,” Brent Collins, head of seeds and traits, Canada, at BASF, said in the release. “In order to continue to drive the industry forward, ongoing investment and stakeholder collaboration is crucial.”

The release noted new clubroot strains have overcome resistance in previously bred resistant cultivators. ALES plant scientists Stephen Strelkov and Sheau-Fang Hwang will use the funding to identify effective sources of pathogen resistance that can be bred into canola seeds.

“With clubroot attacking more than 300 canola fields across Alberta alone, these new strains are particularly concerning and have proven over time to be resistant to a diverse set of pathotypes,”  Strelkov, a plant pathologist at the U of A, said in the release. “By crossbreeding plant materials to introduce new resistance genes, we hope to identify different genetic bases that help to maintain diversity of resistance that farmers can add to their toolkit.”

The funding will also allow for a post-doctoral fellow, as well as graduate and undergraduate students to work in plant science, to be hired, the release said.

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