Plant breeding is a time-consuming process, which is why various techniques to shorten this work are of great importance.
Doubled haploids make it possible to have genetically uniform lines, so called homozygotus lines, in one generation. With a conventional technique this takes 4-8 generations. The method also allows for an earlier and more precise selection in a breeding program. The technique is also used to create material that is suitable for genetic mapping in the development of molecular markers. The method is used in oil seed crops, cereals and vegetables.
Research is done to optimise and render tissue cultivation, as well as the cultivation of the plants from which the tissue was collected, more effective. Doubling of the chromosome number (polyploidization) can also be a way to reach an improved yield in a variety. The method is used for red clover and rye grass. To determine the ploidy level number in various crops and material (e.g. doubled haploids and induced polyploids) flow cytometry and cytological techniques are used.
As a link in the breeding work to improve the quality properties, chemical analyses are carried out. This work includes studies on the nutritional value (protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, fibres), the incidence of anti-nutritional substances and factors having influence on colour, texture, taste and storing capacity. Methods for quality selection in extensive breeding material are developed, just as methods for studies on resistance to storage diseases. The influence of different growth substances on pests and micro organisms causing storing rots is also studied.
Lantmännen have many years of experience of quality appraisals and functional analyses of various crops. The laboratory works in accordance with international methods and standards and is developing fast methods for its own use, and is also working in cooperation with other laboratories both in and outside Sweden.
Functional quality and end-user quality vary in different countries, and this means there is a need for custom analysis methods in order to ensure that an assortment of cultivation material is available in accordance with the demands of the various countries.
Properties analysed include the following examples: protein quality (including HMW glutenines), degreology (stability and water absorption), baking quality (volume and form), feed energy and digestibility, and starch quality.
For a plant breeding station a good quality of the seed, both internally and externally, is a necessity. Within the seed technology program, seed is treated with both synthetic and biological pesticides to give the seed an optimal quality. The work comprises dressing, incrustation and film-coating of vegetable seeds for commercial use and agricultural seeds for field tests.