Barley is the fourth major cereal crop in the world. About 10,000 years
ago it was domesticated from a wild ancestor in the Fertile Crescent and
now it is grown throughout the world excepting the tropics because of its
wide adaptability to the salt, drought, low temperature etc. The barley
varieties show a large variation in morphological, ecological and agricultural
traits such as plant type, ear type, growth habit, maturity, plant height,
grain size, disease resistance etc. About 3,000 years ago barley was introduced
to Japan from the continent, and it used to be an important food crop.
Barley was cooked with rice when the rice production was limited, and sometimes
we eat barley in this way still now. At present, barley is used mainly
as feed of livestocks, malts for brewing beer and whisky, miso and Mugicha-tea.
History of Barley Germplasm Center
|Barley collection started in early 1940's by Dr. Ryuhei Takahashi for the
crop evolution and domestication study. The collection expanded according
to the detailed study of traits related to evolution and breeding. In 1979
the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture established the
Barley Germplasm Center at the Institute for Agricultural and Biological
Sciences (renamed as Research Institute for Bioresources in 1989, Institute
of Plant Science and Resources in 2010), Okayama University located at
Kurashiki. Currently, Barley Germplasm Center is one of the main international
barley genebanks and supported by National Bioresource Project (http://www.nbrp.jp/)
for the preservation and distribution.
|Functions of Barley Germplasm Center
||The functions of the Center are to (1) collect or develop materials (2) preserve materials (3) evaluate and genetically analyze the materials, (4) construct databases and (5) distribute seed samples upon request.
||We have preserved ca. 14,000 accessions of cultivated barley including experimental lines and ca. 600 accessions of wild relatives.
||Barley is usually sown in November and harvested until early June in Kurashiki
where the climate is mild in winter but has rainy season from June. Each
accession is checked the recorded marker traits i.e. plant type, hairiness
of leaf sheath, heading time, ear type, awn length, hull type. Then barley
spikes are harvested, dried and threshed very carefully to prevent the
contamination. After fumigated with chemical insecticide the seeds are
stored in storage room at 15℃ (short and middle term) or -30℃ (long term)
under dry condition.