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New Hope for Bavarian Hop Cultivation: PANHOP Project Aims to Breed Resistant Varieties

Transfer, Awards & Grants, Environmental Health, PGSB,

The foundations for resistant varieties are being developed through genome-assisted breeding and decoding of the complex hop genome as part of the new research project PANHOP at Helmholtz Munich. These varieties should counteract the effects of climate change and pest infestations while improving the aroma at the same time.

Hop, deeply rooted in Bavaria and an essential part of the brewing industry, is highly affected by climate change and its consequences. Hallertau, which represents one of the world's largest growing areas for hops, has experienced significant crop reductions due to drought and altered pest infestations in recent years. Consequently, it is of great importance to breed and select new resistant hop varieties to ensure sustainable cultivation in the long term. This is where the PANHOP project, supported by the Bavarian Research Foundation with approximately 316,000 euros in funding, comes into play.

Dr. Florian Herrmann, the Bavarian state minister for federal affairs and media, emphasized the importance of the project during the presentation of the funding certificate: "Bavaria is renowned as the top region for beer and hops! Both stand for tradition, diverse enjoyment, and the highest quality worldwide. In order to continue serving the international market in the future, Bavarian hop farmers rely on varieties that can better withstand rising temperatures and decreasing rainfall. The PANHOP project aims to examine selected hop varieties of particular relevance and thus pave the way for the future. My wishes of success go to the research partners, and I am thankful to the Bavarian Research Foundation for the support of these innovative efforts.”

"The PANHOP project is a perfect example of what the Bavarian Research Foundation is intended to promote according to its legal mandate: The research project combines scientific excellence with an entrepreneurial pioneering spirit to find a solution to the challenges posed by climate change and environmental influences with the use of advanced technologies. Moreover, the project has a practical application in a traditional Bavarian industry," added Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. (NAS RA) Arndt Bode, president of the Bavarian Research Foundation.

An important goal of the PANHOP project is the utilization of genome-assisted breeding, which has already achieved significant success in many other crops. The project aims to generate and compare complete genome sequences of selected hop varieties, including those that are especially important for cultivation in Bavaria and thereby identify genes responsible for resistance against pests and environmental influences such as drought. At the same time, genes with an important role in the creation of aroma will be examined, as well.

" The insights we gain will be crucial for selecting and improving our Bavarian hop varieties in a targeted manner," emphasizes Dr. Manuel Spannagl from Helmholtz Munich, leader of the PANHOP project. Together with Dr. Alexander Feiner from the company Simon H. Steiner, Hopfen, GmbH (Hopsteiner) in Mainburg, they form the core team of the project. The Hoppebräu GmbH is also involved as an associated partner.

The PANHOP project brings new hope for Bavarian hop cultivation by establishing a scientifically based foundation for the development of resistant varieties. Thereby challenges posed by climate change and the impacts of environmental influences on hop cultivation will be effectively tackled.