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19 Oct 2018

American research grant for resistance in lettuce

The research on mildew resistance in lettuce has received a considerable boost. On October 10, the American Foundation of Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) awarded the first research grant to the Crops of the Future Collaborative. This involves an amount of 2.5 million US dollars (2.2 million euros) for the next five years. The award was received at the UC Davis Genome Center in California.

Collaboration of breeding companies and research institutes

Rijk Zwaan has been one of the partners of the Crops of the Future Collaborative since last year. This new collaboration of breeding companies and research institutes brings together forces in the field of R&D on food and agriculture, one subject of interest of which is leafy vegetables. The participants involved in leafy vegetables, including all major vegetable breeding companies, double the FFAR investment.

Less food waste

Lettuce is a crop worth 2.6 billion euros. Part of the lettuce is lost due to infection with downy mildew, both during cultivation and after harvest. With the grant, researchers will build on genetic research to strengthen the resistance of lettuce against the many variations of the fungus. Better resistance not only reduces crop losses, it also improves profitability, prevents food waste, and prevents the use of plant protection products. The grant from FFAR thus benefits conventional and organic farmers, as well as consumers.


FFAR is a non-profit organization, supported by the American Congress, which focuses on innovation in food and agriculture through public-private partnerships.