Leveraging Variation in Immune Response to Understand and Improve Avenanthramide Production and Disease Resistance in Oat

Grants and Contracts Details


Project Abstract Leveraging variation in immune response to understand and improve avenanthramide production and disease resistance in oat Oat (Avena sativa L.) seeds contain a suite of health-promoting compounds, some of which also contribute to plant disease resistance. It is beneficial to oat growers, processors and consumers to improve consistency and output of these compounds to increase oat value as a highly nutritional food and to expand the cultivation of this sustainable crop. In this project, we seek to investigate how we can we leverage oat genetic variation and management practices to increase seed avenanthramides (antioxidants) by triggering the plant immune response, and testing how both avenanthramides and immune modification can reduce severity of multiple diseases: crown rust, Fusarium head blight, barley yellow dwarf virus and loose smut. We will conduct greenhouse and field trials and couple them to metabolomic and transcriptomic analyses to provide immediate deliverables for growers, inform cultivar selection, and create a foundation of knowledge for plant breeding. The specific objectives of this proposal are to (1) characterize genetic variation in oat seed avenanthramides when immune responses are triggered, (2) test if immune modification increases disease resistance, and (3) assess genotype-by-environment variance to identify and characterize environments in which immune modification may be most productive. This work fits the AFRI program priority of improving crop nutrition and disease resistance through pre-breeding efforts that incorporate applied quantitative genetics and phenomics. This project also uses an innovative approach – testing and breeding for response immune modification – where oat could serve as a model for similar application of these practices in other small grains and other crops.
Effective start/end date9/1/238/31/26


  • National Institute of Food and Agriculture: $649,906.00


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