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A colorful quinoa crop.

Our Research

Objective 1. Understand and apply the roles of environment, soil, and cropping system
         management on soil health, farm economics, and the nutritional content of the grain                       for each  target crop.
Objective 2.
Develop new varieties of barley, wheat, peas, lentils, quinoa, and buckwheat with 
         enhanced health and nutritive value.
Objective 3. Confirm the impact of nutritionally enhanced varieties on key indicators of human 
         health and assess acceptance using consumer panels.
Objective 4. Develop a diverse and innovative suite of flavorful, affordable, and nutritious food 
         products that will be accessible to consumers from all income levels. 
Objective 5. Conduct population studies to explore impacts on dietary quality by increasing target 
         crops in US diets and assessing consumer acceptance and valuation of whole grain and 
         legume-based foods.
Objective 6. Focus our educational capacity on secondary student instruction and teacher 
         professional development, and farmer training.
Objective 7. Disseminate knowledge gained and products developed to stakeholders across 
         agriculture, food and health sciences, and communities, schools, and underserved                         populations through a wide-reaching extension effort.


Soil and Cropping Systems Team

The Soil and Cropping Systems Team is implementing field variety trials to gauge the affects of various management practices on soil health and crop variety.  They are working to develop new varieties of barley, wheat, peas, lentils, quinoa, and buckwheat that have higher nutritional values and determine the best practices for successfully growing these varieties, so that this knowledge can be disseminated to farmers through the Extension and Outreach Teams.

Plant Breeding Team

The Plant Breeding Team's WSU and USDA plant breeders are developing new varieties of barley, wheat, peas, lentils, quinoa and buckwheat with enhanced health and nutritive value. They focus on increasing micronutrient concentrations of zinc, iron, and manganese, and the nutritional traits of protein, phenolic compounds, and lowered phytic acid.


Food Science & Products Team

The Food Science & Products Team is working to take the new grain and legume varieties identified by the Soil and Cropping Systems Team to the public by creating affordable, highly nutritious, whole-grain products with them. They are doing so primarily through extrusion processing and microwave sterilization.


Population Nutrition & Social Science

The Population Nutrition & Social Science team has a twofold goal. They will first determine the frequency and form in which Americans currently consume each of our six crops- wheat, barley, buckwheat, quinoa, lentils, and peas. Then, team researchers will release a survey to determine what variables contribute to the average consumer's food purchases to determine how our education team can best encourage diet shift.

Human Health & Nutrition Team

The Human Health & Nutrition Team is evaluating the current trends around the consumption of whole grains in the United States.  They will then use this information to produce and market whole grain, value-added products to consumers with the Food Science and Extension and Outreach Teams.


Education Team

The Education team is working throughout the project to develop educational curriculum, student involvement opportunities, and farmer education programs. The Summer Research Opportunity launched in the summer of 2023 and provided hands-on laboratory and field experience to five high school students.

Outreach & Extension Team

The Outreach and Extension team will coordinate results and educational dissemination to our target audiences. This includes marketing best practices, academic publications, and extension material publications.

Three people examining a grain crop in a field.
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