of China Australia Food Security Cooperation Initiative (CAFSCI)

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China Barley Collaboration

Overview of Project

Soil acidity, salinity, waterlogging, drought and frost are key factors limiting barley growing areas and sustainability of production in Australia. Australian barley lacks genetic variation for tolerance to these stresses. Previous projects demonstrated China's barley is highly valuable to Australian breeding program. This proposal focuses on
(1) screening 1000 barley accessions for acid soil, drought, frost or salinity tolerance in China,
(2) identification and characterization of new genes from the Chinese germplasm for abiotic stress tolerance, and
(3) introduction and evaluation of 100 barley accessions in Australia. In addition, over 100 barley varieties introduced from the previous projects will be evaluated and integrated into Australian breeding programs for waterlogging tolerance. The new germplasm and genes for the abiotic stress tolerance will improve Australian barley production efficiency and stability, and extend barley production to more marginal soils.


  1. Introduce new barley germplasm from China and deliver novel germplasm to the breeding programs for tolerance to acid soil, salinity, frost or drought;
  2. Develop elite germplasm with acid soil and waterlogging tolerance and deliver this material to the breeding programs; and
  3. Develop new analysis methods and molecular tools for the barley breeders to improve breeding and selection efficiency for acid soil, salinity, frost or drought tolerance.


  1. Improvements in the sustainability and efficiency of Australia’s barley industry through new germplasm, new genes and new breeding technologies;
  2. Increased grain yields and the extension of barley production to more marginal soils;
  3. Attracting Chinese undergraduates and post-graduates to Australian universities;
  4. Improvements in research efficiency through collaborative research with China where labour and operational costs are much lower.
Key Outcomes of Project


  1. Screening approximately 1,000 Chinese barley accessions for acid soil, frost, salinity or drought tolerance in six Chinese institutes with emphasis on germplasm from the low rainfall regions of Tibet and North-Western China. The introduction of over 100 accessions to Australia for further evaluation.
  2. Molecular markers for salinity or acid soil tolerance, developed from Chinese barley germplasm, made available for Australian breeding programs; development of a technique for salinity tolerance screening completed and available to any other programs; some of the physiological mechanisms for waterlogging, frost and salinity tolerance revealed, for use as selection criteria in breeding programs.
  3. Validation and integration of Chinese barley germplasm for acid soil, waterlogging or salinity tolerance in Australian barley breeding programs.
Project Dates

29 Jun 2009 - 29 Jun 2013


Department of Agriculture & Food Western Australia

Launch Website