ÖMKi is part of the international consortium!

HealthyMinorCereals: An integrated approach to diversify the genetic base, improve stress resistance, agronomic management and nutritional/processing quality of minor cereal crops for human nutrition in Europe

PROJECT DURATION: September 2013 – August 2018

With a budget of 6.5 million €, the project involves sixteen participants from ten European/Associated countries: Austria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Switzerland, Turkey and United Kingdom. The project aims to enhance the exploitation of five of the so-called 'minor cereal' species - spelt, rye, oat, einkorn and emmer.

Project Background and Drivers

The productivity of European and global agriculture has been vastly improved through focussing on a relatively small number of crop species (for cereals grown in Europe mainly on common wheat and barley) bred for high yields, and dependent on large inputs of mineral fertilizers. However, this strategy has left agriculture with a reduced genetic variation and diversity which makes crops more vulnerable to biotic and abiotic stresses, and high inputs of fertilizers and energy lead to environmental damage.

In comparison to conventional common wheat, minor cereals typically grow well in poor soils or under low input conditions, and have retained far greater concentration of micronutrients that have been bred out of common wheat. They are hence valued highly by both producers and consumers of organic foods, and increasingly also by conventional farmers.

Suported by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme under grant agreement no. 613609 eu_zaszlo_rsz.png





Actual news:



Summary of the 3rd General Assembly in Potsdam, 10 – 11 May, 2016


healthy-minor-cereals-logo-mini.pngRepresentatives of all sixteen partner organisations and work package (WP) leaders of the Healthy Minor Cereals FP7 project met on May 10 and 11, 2016 in Potsdam, Germany. ÖMKi was represented by Dr. Dóra Drexler and Martina Vresak. The meeting took place at the Institute for Cereal Processing (IGV) and Institute for Food and Environmental Research (ILU). The aim of the meeting was to evaluate and discuss research progress within all 12 WPs.

The workshop was opened with a warm welcome by project coordinator Dr. Dagmar Janovská and representatives from hosting institutions: Dr. Karsten Schmidt from ILU and János Petrusan from IGV. Following their speech, work package presentations started. New results regarding the genetic variability and relationship of selected minor serial samples was presented. We also learned about the first results of the bioactive compound analysis of emmer, einkorn, oat and wheat. Bio-assays were conducted by the Sabanci University on human cell cultures that showed how some beneficial compounds, such as polyphenols can help in decreasing human cell oxidation caused by free radicals.

Between each presentation there was time to debate on open questions, as for example on propagation materials selected for the continuation of the trials. As presentations and debate demanded constant attention, refreshment breaks on the nice sunny garden with delicious pastry products from the bakery department of IGV were more than welcome.

The second day continued with three presentations where the marketing potential of minor cereals were discussed based on case studies. In case of the Czech Republic we learned that there is a tradition of producing “naked oat”, and the Czech cuisine uses cereals cooked as whole grain, which they call “cereal rice garnish”. This tradition opens the door for minor cereals to become part of the Czech diet anew. During the afternoon we were guided through ILU and IGV laboratories and experimental bakery facilities where they also offer training courses for bakers and confectioners.

The two day assembly was closed with a discussion on dissemination activities and the tasks ahead for the next project period. As a conclusion, some minor cereals show a potential of high phytochemical content, that may be beneficial for human health, but further research is needed on optimising grain processing methods and final product manufacturing (baking, extrusion etc.) to preserve the nutritional values of the final products.


Suported by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme under grant agreement no. 613609 eu_zaszlo_rsz.png