8. Foods for the Future
FOODS FOR THE FUTURE
prof. Ing. Jaroslav Doležel, DrSc.
Institute of Experimental Botany of the CAS
- We are obtaining new insights into the hereditary information of agricultural crops to help in breeding crops with high and stable yield and with better quality
- We are developing methods for genome editing that are the foundation of new plant breeding techniques
- We are dealing with molecular technologies for livestock breeding, production, processing and use of food of animal origin
- We are focusing on the prevention of digestive tract diseases and, in particular, the influence of gluten and probiotics on human health
- We are exploring opportunities to make better use of microalgae in the nutrition of man and farm animals
- We are studying valuable substances of plant and animal origin and their use
- We are elaborating new biotechnological methods for processing natural materials and bio-waste
- We are finding out why people waste food and we contribute to the reduction of unnecessary losses
Participating CAS Institutes
Institute of Animal Physiology and Genetics
Institute of Biophysics
Institute of Chemical Process Fundamentals
Institute of Experimental Botany
Institute of Microbiology
Institute of Sociology
Collaborating CAS Institutes
Institute of Botany
Institute of State and Law
Agrotest fyto, Ltd.
Central European Institute of Technology (CEITEC)
Centre of the Region Haná for Biotechnological and Agricultural Research
Crop Research Institute
DLF-Trifolium Hladké Životice, Ltd.
Food Research Institute Prague
Hop Research Institute Co., Ltd.
Institute of Animal Science
Milcom, a. s.
Oseva UNI, a. s.
Research and Breeding Institute of Pomology Holovousy, Ltd.
Selgen, a. s.
Czech and foreign universities and other institutes
Feeding a growing population is the most important challenge for the near future. Food shortage results in human suffering, disturbs healthy growth and development of new generation, leads to political instability and worsens the security situation. On line with the efforts to avert the threat of food shortage, a growing attention is being paid to the quality of food and the efficiency of its production. Human food and animal feed should contain all necessary nutrients and must be free of pets and harmful compounds, including agents causing adverse reactions of the organism. A demand has been growing for food and nutritional supplements with increased content of beneficial compounds and microbes protecting human health.
Almost all human foods are plants or organisms that eat plants. However, the crop plant and hence also animal production are being threatened by gradual degradation and loss of arable land and by the changing climate. The solution is to grow new varieties and breeds resistant to diseases and pests, abiotic stress, and with increased yield and better quality. A rich source of such traits is the genetic makeup of wild crop relatives, wild breeds and unicellular algae. To date, these resources have not been exploited fully and one of the reasons has been a limited knowledge of the structure, function and transmission of their heredity information.
The Foods for the Future research programme responds to the global socio-economic problem through multidisciplinary approaches and state-of-the-art technologies, including the methods of genome editing that contribute to greater efficiency in breeding and agricultural production without negative environmental impacts. The programme also focuses on the prevention of diseases of the digestive tract and on a better use of microalgae in nutrition and production of valuable substances. The attention is paid to wasting food and to new approaches for processing of natural materials and bio-waste. The programme comprises top research teams from the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic who cooperate with university departments and other research organizations. The new knowledge, resources and methods will be used by breeders, companies engaged in the production of plant and livestock products, state administration and various non-profit and patient organizations.