We investigate how to improve crop production and crop quality through management, breeding and biotechnology. We seek ways to reduce environmental restrictions on crop growth and to develop sustainable management practices that will guarantee crop productivity in a changing climate.
Grasslands are the largest biome in Earth, occupying 31 to 43 % of earth surface which is more than forests or agricultural areas. Grasslands support ecosystem services such as nutrient cycling, primary production and pollinator services, but also regulating services through CO2 sequestration and maintenance of soil fertility, as well as provisional services such as plant materials and game and cultural services. In Finland 34 % of the arable land is used for forage production and half of the agricultural income comes throught intensively manage forage grasses.
Read more on the Forages for the Future website
Legumes are a key component of sustainable cropping and food systems. My group focuses on the grain legume faba bean (Vicia faba), from gene to plate and back again, with national and international collaboration: genomics, genetics, breeding, agronomy, environmental impacts, food uses, and feed uses.
Legume Science on University of Helsinki's researcher portal:
The cultivated area on caraway in Finland is now higher than that of potatoes and broad beans and has proven to be one of the most profitable crops. Its seeds are rich on carvone and limonene, two volatile compounds of great importance for the food and pharmaceutical industries.
The main purpose of the project is to improve and guarantee high seed oil quality, while improving sustainability of the cropping system. Our research seeks to identify key environmental factors, companion crops and micronutrients, and to select best cultivation areas and management practices.
This work is carried out partly in collaboration with Trans Farm.
Glycinebetaine is an aminoacid derivative and an osmolyte synthetized in several plant species as a response to environmental stresses. It is industrially extracted for example from sugar beet molasses and sea weed for numerous uses. Role of glycinebetaine in plants has been studied extensively, yet there remains plenty of gaps in the knowledge.
We investigate plant responses to exogenous glycinebetaine application and possibilities to utilize glycinebetaine in different plant production systems.
This research project is conducted together with DSc (adjunct professor) Kari Jokinen at Luke.
Cassava leaves and tubers are widely consumed. Leaves have high protein content, minerals, vitamins, lipids and fiber while roots are mainly rich in carbohydrates. Biofortified cassava is also known to be good source of carotenoids. Unfortunately, cassava also contains high levels of toxic cyanogenic glycosides in the leaves and roots and K deficiency and water deficit are known to increase this problem. However, K fertilization is reported to reduce cyanide content in cassava and improve starch content during production and improved water availbility is known to reduce cyanide and increase carotenoid content.
This project will assess various deficit irrigation and potassium fertigation levels that limit water usage without affecting the yield and quality of biofortified cassava. We aim towards improved cassava yield at minimum water usage. In addition, we develop image-based tools for analysis of cassava growth and yield.
Forage maize has been grown in Finland for several decades, even though its cultivation area was very limited for long. During the past few years interest towards forage maize has increased among farmers. However, Finnish climate sets several different challenges for forage maize production as well as its quality. One of the challenges is related to the dry matter content of the harvested crop which affects the preservability of the yield.
We aim to develop together with animal scientists (DSc, adjunct professor Seija Jaakkola) forage maize production through means of pre- and post-harvest crop management.