Developing high yielding, disease resistant lupins with characteristics suited to specific end-users is the long-term goal of a GRDC lupin breeding project. The project leader, senior plant breeder Dr Bevan Buirchell, of the WA Department of Agriculture, says he wants to see more differentiation in the plant protein market.
"At the moment, lupins tend to be put together with other pulses prior to marketing," he says. "We are trying to develop specific traits that will attract premiums in specific markets, just as the industry did for wheat in the 1960s and 70s."
A variety scheduled for release next year, WALAN2173M, has three percent higher protein content than other lupins, which is attractive to "protein-sensitive" markets, as Dr Buirchell calls them, such as the aquaculture and food ingredient sectors.
The team has also recently completed a genetic map for lupins, which will lay the foundations for further research and development.