Dr Kedar Adhikari
I have a passion for plant breeding and genetics, especially grain legumes. Legumes are a vital part of a sustainable cropping system, being not only able to fix nitrogen and making it available to the following crops, but also acting as important disease break crops. My goal is to increase the productivity of a farm by developing high yielding cultivars that require less input.
I am interested in plant breeding that has a vital role in providing food security with environmental protection. Finite arable land with a growing population means that food production needs be increased per unit area in a sustainable way. Grain legumes are important rotational crops to increase the soil fertility and break disease cycles, thus playing a crucial role in sustainable agriculture development. Since completion of my PhD, I have been working on grain legumes to increase their productivity so that they can become profitable crops in the farming system.
To pursue these interests I am looking for genetic solutions to crop constraints. Therefore, I am interested in the genetics of resistance to important grain legume diseases such as rust, botrytis, ascochyta blight and viral diseases. I am equally interested to find the genetic solutions for abiotic stresses, such as frost, drought and heat tolerance. My approach to crop improvement is to apply conventional as well as modern methods of plant breeding.
I am fascinated to understand how genes interact with the environment. Currently I have a number of projects researching resistance to rust, botrytis and bean leaf roll virus on faba bean and I am looking forward to training future plant breeders.
My career in plant breeding began as an assistant wheat breeder in Nepal, after completing a Bachelor’s degree with Honours from the Harayana Agricultural University, India. After working for five years as a cereal breeder in Nepal, I went to Canada to pursue a Masters in plant breeding from the University of Manitoba. I moved to Australia and completed a PhD from the University of Sydney in 1997 in genetics of cereal rust and moved to Perth (Western Australia) to work on lupins! Since then I have been committed to grain legume (lupins, field pea and faba bean) research as a breeder. I have released three varieties of lupins in Western Australia and developed diverse germplasm suitable for southern Australia. These varieties are resurrecting the albus lupin industry in Western Australia that was wiped out by anthracnose disease in late 1990s. Along with increased grain yield and quality, breeding for resistance to diseases and insect pests have been my main focus.
I returned to the University of Sydney in 2010 to lead the pulse breeding program at the Plant Breeding Institute, Narrabri. This is the centre of faba bean and field pea breeding for northern New South Wales and southern Queensland to provide alternative crops to wheat in rotation. I am interested in developing alternative grain legumes, such as grass pea and pigeon pea to diversify the grain legumes for this region. Legumes being a vital component of a sustainable cropping system, there is a plenty of scope to expand the research in this field.
My research has produced more than 50 publications in refereed journals, conference proceedings, farmnotes and technical bulletins. Besides research, I was actively involved in organising seminars and conferences in Perth. I volunteered as the Secretary for organising the 12th Australasian Plant Breeding Conference in 2002 and 12th International Lupin Conference in 2008 and looking forward to similar opportunities in the future.
- Adhikari K., Buirchell B., Yan G., Sweetingham M. (2011) Two complementary dominant genes control flowering time in albus lupin (Lupinus albus L.). Plant Breeding 30:496-499. DOI: 10.1111/j.1439-0523.2011.01858.
- Adhikari K.N., Thomas G., Buirchell B.J., Sweetingham M.W. (2011) Identification of anthracnose resistance in yellow lupin (Lupinus luteus L.) and its incorporation into breeding lines. Plant Breeding: in press. DOI: 10.1111/j.1439-0523.2011.01880.x.
- Si P., Yan G., Kamsan M.A., Adhikari K.N. (2011) Genotypic variation of metribuzin and carfentrazone-ethyl tolerance among yellow lupin (Lupinus luteus L.) germplasm. New Zealand Journal of Crop and Horticultural Science: in press. DOI: 10.1080/01140671.2011.603736.
- Yang H., Lin R., Renshaw D., Li C., Adhikari K., Thomas G., Buirchell B., Sweetingham M., Yan G. (2010) Development of sequence-specific PCR markers associated with a polygenic controlled trait for marker-assisted selection using a modified selective genotyping strategy: a case study on anthracnose disease resistance in white lupin (Lupinus albus L.). Molecular Breeding 25:239-249.
- Adhikari K.N., Buirchell B.J., Thomas G.J., Sweetingham M.W., Yang H. (2009) Identification of anthracnose resistance in Lupinus albus L. and its transfer from landraces to modern cultivars. Crop and Pasture Science 60:472-479. DOI: doi:10.1071/CP08092.
- Lin R., Renshaw D., Luckett D., Clements J., Yan G., Adhikari K., Buirchell B., Sweetingham M., Yang H. (2009) Development of a sequence-specific PCR marker linked to the gene “ pauper ” conferring low-alkaloids in white lupin (Lupinus albus L.) for marker assisted selection. Molecular Breeding 23:153-161.
- Adhikari K. N. (2009). Identification of WALAB2014 as a potential albus lupin variety for northern agricultural region of Western Australia. Proceedings of Agribusiness Crop Updates 2009, Lupins and Pulses Pp 36-38
- Berger J.D., Adhikari K.N., Wilkinson D., Buirchell B.J., Sweetingham M.W. (2008) Ecogeography of the Old World lupins. 1. Ecotypic variation in yellow lupin (Lupinus luteus L.). Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 59:691-701. DOI: doi:10.1071/AR07384.
- Phan H.T.T., Ellwood S.R., Adhikari K., Nelson M.N., Oliver R.P. (2007) The First Genetic and Comparative Map of White Lupin (Lupinus albus L.): Identification of QTLs for Anthracnose Resistance and Flowering Time, and a Locus for Alkaloid Content. DNA Res 14:59-70. DOI: 10.1093/dnares/dsm009.
- Galwey N.W., Adhikari K., Dracup M., Thomson R. (2003) Agronomic potential of genetically diverse narrow-leafed lupins (Lupinus angustifolius L.) with restricted branching. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 54:649-661. DOI: doi:10.1071/AR02192.