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Barley

Overview

Crop Barley Hordeum Center of origin: CAS, SEM, WAS

Barley is a tough cereal, grown in a number of environments where other grains can’t grow – from arctic latitudes and alpine altitudes to saline desert oases.

Barley is the fourth most important cereal crop in the world after wheat, maize, and rice. Although generally a temperate crop, barley is also grown in many tropical countries, typically by poor farmers in hostile, dry, cool environments. Developing countries account for about 18% of global production and 25% of the harvested area of barley.

Due to the high proportion of meat in temperate zone diets, barley is nowadays more often used as fodder for livestock than human food. Barley’s second most important use is in brewing beer, with direct use for human food ranking third. The different uses of the crop have led to diversification and specialization of cultivars. The main distinction among the cultivars is made by the number of kernel rows in the head; two-row barley, four-row and six-row barley. High protein barley is best suited for animal feed. Two-row barley is traditionally used in English beers, six-row barley is traditional in German and American beers. As in most crops there is more diversity in the wild types than in the domesticated varieties. It has been shown that there is more diversity among the wild barleys of Israel alone, than in all cultivars around the world.

Barley is a valuable carbohydrate energy source, as the kernel is 80% carbohydrate. Barley has been documented as a high-energy food since the Roman times, when the gladiators were called “hordeari” (from Hordeum) because they were fed a barley diet before going to the Circus. Certain barleys are also remarkably high in protein – some Ethiopian landraces are up to 18% protein.

Barley is an important “model plant” in basic genetic research. The work on barley by distinguished plant geneticist H.V. Harlan, in the 1930s, sounded the first alarm about the loss of crop diversity.

Breeders are working on resistance to serious diseases such as powdery mildew, the different types of rust and mosaic virus. Ethiopian barley has been especially useful in providing genes resistant to leaf diseases because of the hardiness of the local Ethiopian landraces. Also, breeders are working on adaptations to conditions of physical stress such as high humidity, cold, short seasons, drought etc. Among the CGIAR centres, the International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) has the mandate to undertake work on barley, and more than 100 cultivars have been released in 34 countries worldwide from their breeding programmes.

Conserving forever in genebanks

Filter by genebanks

ICARDA

Number of varieties available to the public
76.4% 24,253
Data available in genesys
0% 0
Safety duplicated
91.5% 29,065

Breakdown of genebanks conserving Barley

  • ICARDA 31,761 / 100%

The Crop Trust has supported 20 projects for Barley

  1. Armenia: The Crop Trust provided support to the Armenian State Agrarian University (ASAU) to regenerate and characterize 33 barley accessions with the objective of rescuing threatened diversity and enhancing use of the crops. All accessions are safety duplicated at the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA).
  2. Azerbaijan: The Crop Trust supported the Genetic Resources Institute of the National Academy of Sciences to regenerate, characterize and safety duplicate 194 barley with the objective of rescuing threatened diversity and enhancing use of these crops. Safety duplicates are all found at the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA).
  3. Belarus: The Crop Trust supported the Scientific and Practical Center for Arable Farming of the National Academy of Sciences to regenerate, characterize and safety duplicate 262 barley with the objective of rescuing threatened diversity and enhancing use of these crops. All duplicates are found in the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA).
  4. Brasil: The Crop Trust supported the Embrapa Genetic Resources and Biotechnology (Embrapa, Cenargen) to collect and conserve 12 samples of barley, with the objective of rescuing threatened diversity and enhancing use of the crop.
  5. Bulgaria: The Institute of Plant Genetic Resources in Bulgaria received support from the Crop Trust to regenerate 145 accessions of barley with the objective of rescuing threatened diversity and enhancing use of the crop. 115 accessions are safety duplicated at the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA).
  6. Greece: The Crop Trust supported the National Agricultural Research Foundation’s Cereal Institute (NARF) to regenerate and characterize 180 barley accessions with the objective of rescuing threatened diversity and enhancing use of the crop. 155 accessions are safety duplicated at the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA).
  7. Hungary: The Crop Trust supported the Research Centre for Agrobotany (RCA) to regenerate, characterize and safety duplicate 32 barley with the objective of rescuing threatened diversity and enhancing use of the crops.
  8. Iran: The Centre for Sustainable Development (CENESTA) in collaboration with the Iranian genebank and the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) characterized and evaluated 160 barley accessions in their own field and management conditions. The project was aimed at integrating farmers’ characterization and evaluation data, of important germplasm collections with already existing information to enable the identification of more appropriate germplasm for use by farmers and breeders in developing varieties adapted to climate change.
  9. Israel: The Institute for Cereal Crops Improvement (ICCI) received support from the Crop Trust to regenerate, characterize and safety duplicate 600 barley accessions with the objective of rescuing threatened diversity and enhancing use of the crops. The accessions are backed up in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway.
  10. Israel: The Crop Trust supported the Institute of Evolution, University of Haifa, Israel to recollect wild barley and undertake a comparative evaluation of old and newly collected germplasm for drought resistance with the aim of identifying best performing genotypes and making them available for further studies and breeding, A total of 36 genotypes were found to be resistant to drought.
  11. Mongolia: The Crop Trust supported the Plant Science Agricultural Research Training Institute (PSARTI) to regenerate and characterize 320 barley accessions with the objective of rescuing threatened diversity and enhancing use of the crops. 148 accessions are safety duplicated at the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) and a further 160 at the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.
  12. Nepal: The Crop Trust supported Agriculture Botany Division, NARI to regenerate and characterize 356 barley accessions with the objective of rescuing threatened diversity and enhancing use of the crops. 172 accessions are safety duplicated in the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA).
  13. Nepal: The Crop Trust supported the Agricultural Botany Division (ABD) and the Nepal Agriculture Research Country (NARC) to evaluate 264 barley accessions for leaf and yellow/stripe rust resistance resistance with the objective of identifying potential sources of genes and making them available to breeders for use in breeding resistant barley varieties in Nepal.
  14. Russia: The N.I. Vavilov Research Institute of Plant Industry received funding from the Crop Trust to regenerate 700 barley accessions with the objective of rescuing threatened diversity and enhancing use of the crops. All accessions are safety duplicated at the Svalbard Global Seed Vault and 494 at the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA).
  15. Syria: The Crop Trust supported the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) to evaluate 270 barley accessions for several drought stress related traits with the aim of giving scientist an understanding of plant adaptation to drought and also to help breeders develop more drought tolerant varieties. The project also resulted the training of 13 persons from 4 countries.
  16. Syria: The Crop Trust supported the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) to develop dynamic trait specific GIS-based subset for barley landraces in ICARDA genebank by using ecogeographic data and distribution maps of major biotic and abiotic stresses to predict areas of high selection pressures for related trait, with the aim of getting information that will be used to derive sub-samples of accessions for each major biotic and abiotic constraint for introduction into appropriate screening programs.
  17. Syria: The International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) receives an in-perpetuity grant from the Crop Trust for the long-term conservation of the global collections of barley, forages, faba bean, grass pea and lentil it holds on behalf of the international community.
  18. Tajikistan: The Crop Trust supported the Republican National Centre of Genetic Resources (RNCGR) to regenerate and characterize 624 barley accessions with the objective of rescuing threatened diversity and enhancing use of the crops. All accessions are safety duplicated in N.I. Vavilov Research Institute for Plant industry (VIR) and the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.
  19. Yemen: The Agricultural Research & Extension authority (AREA) received support from the Crop Trust to regenerate and characterize 112 barley accessions with the objective of rescuing threatened diversity and enhancing use of the crops.
  20. Yemen: The Crop Trust supported the Agricultural Research and Extension Authority (AREA) that worked in collaboration with the National Genebank of Yemen and the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) to characterize and evaluate 64 barley accessions from the National Genebank of Yemen for desired agronomic characters under farmers’ field and management conditions, with the objective being to capture and document farmers’ knowledge and identify accessions preferred by farmers and as potential sources of genes for the traits of interest for use in developing adapted and farmer preferred varieties.