James Hutton Institute
I have contributed to the development of the understanding of the metabolic response of perennial ryegrass to a multitude of abiotic stresses, which include water-stress, P-Limitation and N nutrition through the use of metabolomic-based approaches. Furthermore, I have used metabolomics in conjunction with a molecular marker map to generate QTLs for metabolic traits.
Subsequently I was involved in understanding the effects of environment in the phytochemical composition of soft fruit. A number of field experiments in which the goal is to understand how a simulated flood experiment affects the end quality product of raspberries; additionally we took advantage of climate variability between regions (within the north sea region) to assess which environmental variables contribute the most towards fruit yield and phytochemical composition.
Currently I am involved in a project in which we will be aiming to assess the phytochemical diversity (polyphenols in particular) of different berry species within the Ribes, Rubus, Vaccinium, Lycium, Berberis, Ugni and Lonicer genus. It is expected that by utilising state-of-the-art analytical tools (LC-MS orbitrap) that we will be able to discover novel compounds with potential bioactivities, or enhanced colour properties.
Due to the relevance of climate change and associated environmental stresses in addition to the need for sustainable and low-input agricultural practices my long-term plan will be to attempt to bridge the gap in knowledge between the biological response of the plant to the abiotic environment and to understand how this translates into alteration on the quality of plants products. Additionally I am interested in the diversity of polyphenol composition of fruits (particularly known bioactives) and how the processing methodology that converts them into finalised processed products affects specific compounds.