Project Partner meets 10 and 11 May 2016 in Nuthetal
Launched in September 2013, the 5-year HealthyMinorCereals project is funded by the EU’s 7th Framework research programme. It is coordinated by Dr Dagmar Janovská (Crop Research Institute in Prague, Czech Republic) and involves 16 partners from 10 countries with expertise in crop breeding, farming, food production and market potential, including universities, agricultural research institutes and SMEs. HealthyMinorCereals aims to boost cultivation and consumption of five neglected minor cereal crops – rye, oat, spelt, einkorn and emmer.
Challenge to diversify grain production and enhance agrobiodiversity in Europe
Cereal production in Europe is dominated by common wheat and barley, both intensively bred for high yields and dependent on high inputs of artificial fertilizers and pesticides. Minor cereal species generally have a higher content of micronutrients than common cereals, and are more suited to cultivation on marginal lands. Compared to common cereals, they have not been studied scientifically to the same extent, and the range of minor cereals varieties available to farmers is much more limited.
Challenge to offer healthy cereals products
The diversity of grain nutritional composition (nutrients, proteins, phenolics, antioxidants, etc.) of minor cereal genotypes is being analysed, and their nutritional impact investigated using human cell cultures. The first results are available and the next task is to optimise grain processing methods (such as milling) and final product manufacturing (baking, extrusion, etc.) to preserve high nutritional quality of final products.
Studies of consumer perceptions and the development of markets for minor cereals are well underway and a report on the market potential of minor cereal crops in different European regions is available at the project website