RadiMax - Root deeper, produce more!


Plant production faces tremendous challenges in the future. Climate changes already impacts agriculture significantly and the need for robust and drought tolerant crops have never been bigger.

At DLF, we believe there is still room for improvement and to find it we must dig deeper: Deeper into the soil and deeper into the genomics of important crops. Our hypothesis is that deeper roots will allow plants to cope better with water stress and perhaps also take op nutrients more efficiently than they do today. This idea is also shared by our colleagues at Sejet Plant Breeding, Nordic Seed, and LKF Vandel, who is breeding cereals and potatos, respectively. Together with Copenhagen-, Aarhus-, and Aalborg Universities we have joined forces in developing crops with significantly (30%) deeper roots.



The platform is called RadiMax and comprise a screening facility located at Copenhagen University and a high performance computer cluster placed at Aarhus University.


The screening facility consists of four v-shaped pits, in which plants will only receive irrigation from the bottom, which ends at 3 meters depth. Mobile tents ensures that the crops will receive no precipitation during the drought tests. Each pit has a capacity for 150 plant rows of 10 m. plants standing in the middle of the pit will have to root down to 3 m in order to get water. So by measuring the biomass above ground we get a very good indication on the root system below.



The facility is also equipped with Plexiglas tubes that run under each plant row down to the bottom. Multispectral cameras will record the root growth at several time points during growth and during stress. This information tells us how fast each breeding line will establish itself after sowing and how fast it will respond to a sudden climatic change.



All plant material going into the screening facility will be subject to DNA profiling. Screening results and DNA profiles will then be analyzed at the computer cluster  to generate genomic selection models, which breeders will use to predict rooting depth on new breeding material.


RadiMax has a budget of 3.0 M € and runs until the end of 2018. The project receives financial support from InnovationsFonden, GBHF, and PlanDanmark.

You can find more information on each partner here: