PBR-30306 Breeding for Stress Tolerance and Quality


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Field practical18
Course coordinator(s)dr. CG van der Linden
Lecturer(s)prof. dr. RGF Visser
dr. CG van der Linden
dr. ir. CA Maliepaard
dr. Y Bai
dr. AG Bovy
dr. PM Bourke
Examiner(s)prof. dr. RGF Visser

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

MAT-20306 Advanced Statistics, PBR-21803 Pre-breeding, PBR-22303 Plant Breeding

Continuation courses:

PBR-30806 Design of Plant Breeding Programmes.


Note: This course can not be combined in an individual programme with PBR-31802 Breeding for Quality and/or PBR-32202 Breeding for Abiotic Stress Tolerance and/or PBR-32802 Breeding for Resistance.

This course builds on courses PBR-22303 and PBR-21803 (Plant Breeding and Pre-breeding), and is preparatory to PBR-30806, Design of Plant Breeding Programmes.
In current agriculture, abiotic and biotic stress are the main reasons that yield potential and quality aspects are difficult to realize for many crops. Resistance breeding focuses on the use of genetic resources for improving plant defence against stress factors. Breeding for biotic stress resistance addresses with defence mechanisms and strategies that protect host plants against pests and pathogens, inheritance of resistance genes, and durable effectiveness of resistance genes. Abiotic stress is caused by environmental factors (a.o. temperature, water, nutrients, minerals). Breeding for abiotic stress resistance and tolerance to such factors addresses concepts such as adaptability and stability of crop plants, mechanisms of stress tolerance and phenotyping for selection, genotype by environment interaction and selection in multi-environment trials. Differences between plant genotypes and assessment of the importance of these effects can be quantified in experiments with appropriate experimental designs and using statistical analysis of the collected data.
Quality breeding is mainly directed at improving plant compounds like carbohydrates, proteins, vegetable fats and oils, fibres and secondary metabolites, that are all synthesized in metabolic pathways. Breeding objectives include improved product quality (e.g. taste, shelf life), enhanced production of flavours, fragrances and health-supporting components, absence of allergens and other undesirable compounds and improvement of processing characteristics of plant raw materials.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- explain the major characteristics of various resistance, tolerance and quality traits;
- define appropriate selection strategies for specific target traits;
- apply relevant analytic and statistical screening techniques for trait evaluation;
- use this knowledge to develop breeding strategies for improved resistance, tolerance and quality.


- lectures;
- short assignments;
- practical training;
- (statistical) data analysis


The final mark will consist of the following elements:
- examination (100%).
The examination will consist mainly of open questions related to the four modules of the course: Biotic, Abiotic, Statistics and Quality, (weighted 3:2:2:2, respectively).
Both parts (report writing and examination) need to have a sufficient mark (5.5 or higher) to pass the course. In addition, assignments related to the practicals need to be fulfilled to pass the course.


Documentation will be available at the start of the course and electronically in Brightspace.
Recommended textbook:Niks; [et.al]. (2011): Breeding Crops with resistance to Diseases and Pests. Wageningen Academic Publishers. 198p. ISBN 9789086861712.

Restricted Optional for: MPSPlant SciencesMScD: Plant Breeding and Genetic Resources5MO
MPBPlant BiotechnologyMScC: Molecular Plant Breeding and Pathology5MO
MPBPlant BiotechnologyMScC: Molecular Plant Breeding and Pathology5MO
MBSBiobased SciencesMScA: Biomass Production and Carbon Capture5MO
Compulsory for: WUPBRBSc Minor Plant Breeding5MO