Nottingham BBSRC Wheat Research Centre

Phenotyping at the Nottingham BBSRC Wheat Research Centre


Traits currently being measured on the Breeders toolkit Doubled Haploid Am. muticum lines here at the WRC include:

Growth stage dates, Biomass (anthesis and harvest), Leaf area, Plant Height, Internode lengths, Fruiting Efficiency, Ear height, Grain number (size and area), Photosynthetic traits (such as Amax, Asat, ACi parameters, Chlorophyll Fluorescence, etr), Leaf N%, Pollen grain number and size, Anther length, Flowering morphology. More information to follow.


  • Trait analysis of the introgression lines and amphidiploids that are being generated will be undertaken by researchers within the DFW programme at Rothamsted Research.

Other collaborations include:

  • The Indian Institute of Wheat and Barley Research, Karnal, India,
  • The Agharkar Research Institute, Pune, India,The University of Sydney, Australia (funded by the SCPRID research programme),
  • The Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China 
  • CIMMYT, Mexico
  • ICARDA, Morocco
  • Kansas State University

Target traits include:

  • Tolerance to heat
  • Drought and acid soils
  • Disease resistance
  • Photosynthetic potential
  • Water and nutrient use efficiency
  • Root morphology

Related Projects:

International Wheat Yield Partnership (IWYP) -Wider and faster: high-throughput phenotypic exploration of novel genetic variation for breeding high biomass and yield in wheat (2015-2019)

Lead: Prof. Erik Murchie,  Research Fellow:  Dr. Lorna McAusland (University of Nottingham)

Co/I Dr Elizabete Carmo-Silva,  Professor Ian Dodd,  Professor Keith Edwards,  Dr Michael Foulkes,  Professor Ian King,  Professor Julie King,  Professor Tracy Lawson,  Professor Martin Parry,  Dr Kevin Pyke,  Professor Christine Raines

The objective of the programme at Nottingham is to transfer small chromosome segments from related species which carry a target gene but lack any deleterious genes into wheat. In this project we will generate, using wide crosses, landraces and existing cultivars, lines with substantial variation in their photosynthetic properties and use high throughput screening techniques to identify progeny with enhanced photosynthetic capacity and efficiency. We will investigate the genetic basis of the photosynthetic variation and with the IWYP HUB integrate these discoveries into a pre-breeding and breeding strategy. The programme will bring together a multi-disciplinary research team: UoN (wide crossing, wheat physiology, photosynthesis phenotyping), (UoB: Genetic marker analysis), University of Essex (UoE: novel photosynthesis phenotyping, Calvin cycle engineering), Lancaster University Environment Centre (LEC: whole plant carbon gain and water use, Rubisco engineering), CIMMYT (field phenotyping and genotyping).

High throughput photosynthetic phenotyping platform

Introducing wild relative material into pre-breeding and breeding programmes takes significant time and hundreds, if not thousands, of plants to achieve the required number of backcrosses. During this project, a novel photosynthesis-specific screening tool was developed to relieve the pressure associated with rapidly phenotyping the generations of plants. The platform is based around a chlorophyll fluorescence imager which can be used to non-invasively monitor PSII.

This system from  Photon Systems Instruments can screen 200 intact seedlings day-1, 400-500 leaf sections day-1,  Control gaseous conditions (e.g, O2), Measure Chlorophyll Fluorescence (invasive or non-invasive), and run custom fluctuating light protocols (dynamic screening).


Full details of the phenotyping platform methodology can be found in the following publication;                                  "High throughput procedure utilising chlorophyll fluorescence imaging to phenotype dynamic photosynthesis and photoprotection in leaves under controlled gaseous conditions" McAusland L, Atkinson J.A, Lawson T and Murchie E.H (2019) Plant Methods 15:109

Chl Fluor screen345
Chl Fluor screen 3 345


Nottingham BBSRC Wheat Research Centre

Department of Plant and Crop Science
The University of Nottingham
School of Biosciences
Sutton Bonington Campus
Leics, LE12 5RD

Tel: +44 (0) 115 951 6014