Dr Mark Stevens, lead scientist at the British Beet Research Organisation, discusses research and strategic partnerships...
Where appropriate, BBRO also commission work to enhance in-house research. Interesting current examples of which are our work with The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC) and ADAS, the UK’s largest independent provider of agricultural and environmental consultancy, rural development services and policy advice. TGAC (also based at Norwich Research Park) are looking at foliar diseases that affect sugar beet, with the aim of gathering baseline information on the genetic code of those pathogens in case new races appear in the future to threaten the crop. Our work with ADAS focuses on a developing problem with Mangold fly that affects the crop.
Strategic relationships also form a very important part of our network. For example, we have close links with Nottingham University and have a small team using new CT scanning facilities there – growing sugar beet in columns to enable CT scanning of the beet without having to remove them from the soil – a superb way for us to visualise the sugar beet in its natural environment, which is leading to all sorts of new opportunities.
Tomorrow… Flexible facilities