Novel Crops

Novel Crops: To address opportunities for producing alternative protein and carbohydrate crops in Scottish agriculture for fish and crustacean feed, bioenergy, bio-refining, animal feed and human consumption, and to develop design criteria for integrating suitable alternative legume and non-legume crops as sole and intercrops within rotations whilst also accounting for agronomi

Plant-soil-water interactions

Plant, Soil, Water Interactions: To identify the interactions between plants and soils that can be exploited to achieve food security and sustainable production of sufficient, safe and nutritious food. Crop yield and quality, biodiversity, and soil health are largely determined by the interactions between plant roots and the soil.

Integrated pest management

The aim of this research is to understand the importance of factors that modify reliance on pesticides and integrate these into Integrated Pest Management (IPM) toolboxes tailored to key Scottish horticultural and arable crops. Novel control options, which reduce reliance on pesticides, are required because of reduced availability of plant protection products.

In-field detection

The overall aim is to improve detection of economically important pests/pathogens/diseases affecting key Scottish crops. This will improve decision making for growers and control recommendations and inform policy and statutory recommendations, leading to improved disease control. Much of the research capitalises on outputs from the previous RESAS programme and externally funded research.

Plant-Pest Epidemiology

Improved risk management and control of plant diseases: to be achieved through an understanding of key epidemiological parameters and optimal ways of manipulating them. These parameters underpin the development of epidemiological models that can be used to predict the effect of management strategies, including crop protection and host resistance.

Plant-Pest Interactions

A major constraint on achieving food security is crop loss due to pests and diseases. The main aim of this work is to develop a better understanding of the plant-pest interactions that threaten arable crop production in Scotland and elsewhere.

Crop Genetic Improvement

The main activities will focus on barley, wheat, potato and soft fruit, the crops of major importance to the Scottish economy. For each crop, the spectrum of capabilities is linked into translational crop genomics pipelines that ultimately deliver improved cultivars.

Genetic Diversity of Crops

The major aim is to develop suitably characterised germplasm resources leading to the generation of crops better equipped and adapted to future climatic conditions, taking into account key areas of stakeholder concern that impact on profitability and the sustainability of Scottish crop production.

Enhancing Food Security

Originally, this research had two main aims. The first was to establish the nature of household food insecurity in Scotland, what societal sectors and communities are affected by and respond to it, how it affects health and wellbeing, and what can be done about it.

Local Food

This research has three main aims. Firstly, it seeks to build a better understanding of the characteristics of small and medium sized food and drink enterprises in Scotland. To fulfil this it will conduct a large-scale representative survey of Scottish food and drink enterprises. The other aims will build on this survey, in the context of feedback from project stakeholders.

Food Trade and Consumption

This work aims to understand the relationship between Scottish consumption of domestic food and drink products versus imported products; and whether purchases of a particular provenance are due to prices or other reasons.

Food Culture and Dietary Choice

This research targets a number of complementary, interdisciplinary strategies to support changes in food culture, social norms and dietary choices towards ‘sustainable and healthy balanced diets’.

Importance of Healthy Diets

The aim of this RD is to investigate the role of diet in determining health within and between generations and the complex interactions with social and economic status. It is designed to advance our understanding of the following key issues:

Dietary Components of Healthy Diets and their Effects

The current crisis in public health (obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke and some cancers) is strongly rooted in an imbalance in dietary components. A healthy balanced diet not only requires reductions in fat, salt, sugar, and in overall calorie intake, but also an increase in fibre and an appropriate level of protein intake.

Sustainability of Healthy Diets

Sustainability of Healthy Diets: There is no single healthy, sustainable diet, since there are many different ways of achieving the dual dietary goals for health and environmental sustainability, and dietary intakes and the types of food chosen differ across different populations. This adds to the complexity of assessing and translating dietary advice to consumers.

Improving Primary Produce

The quality of Scottish primary produce is a critical attribute for Scottish producers as it differentiates their products in crowded markets and attracts premium prices. The diversity of these food products (from crops to shellfish) can be crucial for the sustainability of rural communities.

Food Safety

The focus of the work is on microbial contaminants of food, either directly or via toxins, and heavy metal contaminants.

Preventing food waste

The aim of the proposal is to undertake an assessment of food waste along food supply chains (dairy, fruits and vegetables) and consumption in Scotland, and provide coherent and robust strategies to reduce food loss and waste across the chain and, where waste cannot be reduced, identify valorisation routes for coproduct/income generation.

Improving Food and Drink Production

There is a focus on foods which appeal to the customer in terms of taste, appearance and price. Such foods may not be compatible with the current health messages in key policy documents and legislature. A central question for public health nutrition is whether industrially processed foods can be reformulated to improve their healthiness.

Practical interventions to realise multiple benefits and manage trade-offs

The aim of this research is to evaluate the potential to manage trade-offs and deliver multiple benefits from natural assets at the landscape scale.