Agriculture and rural development

AGRI GEN RES 061: Avena genetic resources for quality in human consumption

AGRI GEN RES 061: Avena genetic resources for quality in human consumption

Genetic resources
AGRI GEN RES 061: Avena genetic resources for quality in human consumption

Final results

The Oats action evaluated and characterised Avena genetic resources for traits relevant for the quality of oats in human nutrition, analysed resistance to Fusarium infection and mycotoxins contamination and tested three cultivars to cold tolerance. All the traits evaluated are of high importance for breeding cultivars and for the crop production of oats in European agriculture. All results are available in the European Avena database. More information regarding the results can be found in the executive summary


The objectives of the action are:

  • To evaluate, characterise and document Avena genetic resources  
  • To focus on traits relevant for the quality of oats in human consumption and on cold tolerance  
  • To describe the distribution of high quality traits in the European genetic resources collections of the genus Avena and their inter correlations regarding biological status, species, and geographic origin  
  • To identify highly valuable material regarding:  
    • Contents of protein, fat, minerals, dietary fibre, antioxidants and phenolic compounds  
    • Resistance to Fusarium infection and mycotoxin contamination  
    • Cold tolerance  
  • To document all results in the European Avena database and make them available to the public by an Avena genetic resources web portal. 

Actions and means involved

A working collection with 600 accessions of Avena genetic resources of different improvement status will be established. It will consist of wild species accessions, land races selected on the basis of the results of a preceding action, and modern cultivars. Field experiments will be set up to yield samples for quality analysis, others with artificial Fusarium inoculation to observe infection and mycotoxin contamination and for the observation of cold tolerance.

Field experiments targeted to the observation of quality traits will be set up in Sweden, Estonia, Poland, France, South Italy, Romania and Bulgaria on sites suited for the production of high quality oats. Observations on a limited set of descriptors with relevance to the build up of great quality will be taken in the field. Samples of harvested grain will be sent for quality analysis to partners with specialised laboratories.

Field experiments artificially inoculated with Fusarium spp. will be set up in Germany, Czech Republic, North Italy and Romania. Descriptors with probable relevance for Fusarium infection in the field will be observed. Seed infection with Fusarium will be scored. Samples without visible symptoms will be checked for contamination by mycotoxins with analytics of increasing sensitivity.

Cold tolerance will be observed in the field and under controlled conditions in climate chambers.
All project activity will be supported by a project database and web portal. Results will be made accessible to the public in an Avena crop portal based on the European Avena database.

Relevance to the objectives

This action promotes especially the characterisation and utilisation of crop genetic resources that could be of interest for European agriculture. The focus will be on accessions from European ex situ collections and on traits, which are important for the quality of oats in human nutrition. Wild relatives of oats will be included into the evaluation program. Online geographic mapping will be used to provide visualisation of collecting sites with the occurrence of valuable traits. This will raise the awareness for regions, where interesting accessions have been collected and promote in situ conservation of genetic resources.

It will further address the aim to establish a European decentralised, permanent and widely accessible web based inventory and the maintenance and improvement of web-based European Central Crop Databases (ECCDBs) with characterisation and evaluation data. All results of the action will be made accessible through the European Avena Database (EADB) and a crop specific web portal.


Interim results (12/2009) [ppt, 129 MB!]


Organisations implementing the co-funded action


Coordinator's website