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UKZN’s Mr Learnmore Mwadzingeni.

A PhD student in the Discipline of Plant Breeding, Mr Learnmore Mwadzingeni, presented some of the results of his research as a poster at the 9th International Wheat Conference in Sydney, Australia.

Mwadzingeni, who completed his masters degree at the University of Zimbabwe, titled his poster: Screening of Bread Wheat Genotypes for Drought Tolerance Using Phenotypic and Proline Analyses.

Supervised by Professor Hussein Shimelis, Mwadzingeni aims to have the research published in a relevant journal.

He also attended the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative (BGRI) Technical Workshop which aimed to address key issues concerning the genetic improvement of wheat resistance to key stresses using a range of techniques from conventional breeding to genomics-based tools.

According to Mwadzingeni, participating in the workshop and conference provided him with knowledge about cutting-edge scientific wheat research, comprising a variety of approaches to enhancing wheat adaptation through trans-disciplinary and integrative approaches. He made the most of the opportunity to interact with leading scientists participating in the conference and hopes this contact will result in fruitful future collaborations with international research partners.

Mwadzingeni said breeders and physiologists alike were excited by the research presented on his poster, which correlated actual yield with the proline that physiologists link to drought tolerance. His work involves examining abiotic stress resistance and breeding for quantitative traits, particularly drought and heat stress tolerance in wheat.

The Conference and workshop also furnished Mwadzingeni with ideas to move his research forward, making the experience that much more valuable.

Mwadzingeni hopes his career in Plant Breeding will help him to achieve his goals of demonstrating expertise in research, management and training in agricultural systems, and implementing life sustaining projects.