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.
Forages for the future

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

Legume science

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.

Read more on the Legume science website

Strategies for sustainable caraway production

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.

Osmolytes in hydroponic leafy vegetable production

Osmolytes are accumulated in plants as a response to for example environmental stresses. The role of osmolytes in plants has been studied extensively, yet there remain plenty of gaps in the knowledge regarding for example the mode of action. We investigate physiological and biochemical responses in leafy vegetables to root-applied osmolytes. The aim is to develop a new production strategy applying osmolytes in fertigation solutions to improve the commercial quality of leafy vegetables and utilize novel imaging technology for quality control. This research project is conducted together with the Deparment of Food and Nutrition, Dr. Minnamari Edelmann, and Luke, Dr. Alexey Shapiguzov.

Forage maize cultivation

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 in forage maize has increased among farmers. However, the 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 forage maize production together with animal scientists through means of pre- and post-harvest crop management. We also investigate the environmental impact of forage maize production in Finland.

Website in Finnish: Tulevaisuuden kestävät karkearehuvalinnat projekti website.

Three-crop mixtures to increase sustainability

Crop diversity is the cornerstone of food security, enabling continuous adaptation to climate change while providing systemic resilience against abiotic and biotic disturbances. Mixed cropping can alleviate current and future concerns in plant production by elevating soil quality, and potentially reducing the occurrence of pest and pathogen infestations as well as greenhouse gas emissions.

Diversilience is a Core Organic funded project in which research is conducted in several European countries, the leader being NMBU in Norway. LuoVaMix is Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry funded “Nappaa hiilestä kiinni” project led by the Finnish Organic Research Institute. The objective of these projects is to study the effects and interactions of multi-species crop mixtures to enhance the resilience and sustainability of organic farming and aim toward increased carbon sequestration. The project aims to formulate region-specific intercrop combinations with high agronomic value and benefits to local biodiversity in collaboration with farmers.

Read more from Diversilience project's website