Perennial ryegrass is the most important forage grass species in the temperate regions. Flowering time and plant morphology as well as pathogen resistance are essential traits which determine the energy yield of  forage grasses. The first aim of the project is to identify key genes of rust resistance to improve the resistance of L. perenne against rust pathogens (Puccinia coronata f. sp. lolii, Puccinia graminis f. sp graminicola). The second aim is to  develop functional marker for efficient breeding of late flowering genotypes, because extending the period of optimal harvest would lead to an increased energy yield and a more efficient harvest process flow (Fig. 1).




 Fig. 1 Shematical overview of the energy content during the developmental stages of grass and the intended improvement of flowering behaviour including a prolonged optimal harvest-period of time.



A set of ryegrass genotypes will be analysed concerning rust resistance and flowering time. In an expression profiling procedure of selected genotypes, flowering- and resistance-related candidate genes will be identified and used for the development of functional markers, which will be valuable tools for accelerating the process of breeding for perennial ryegrass varieties matching the requirements of modern forage production.

The project is a cooperation of the "Institute for Phytopathology" and the "Institute of Crop Science and Plant Breeding - Department of Grass and Forage Science / Organic Agriculture" and is founded by the "Innovationsstiftung Schleswig-Holstein" and the "Norddeutsche Pflanzenzucht Hans-Georg Lembke KG" (HWT2010 / 84H).