Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Localy grown buckwheat grain for production of high quality food products

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
4.03.00  Biotechnical sciences  Plant production   

Code Science Field
B006  Biomedical sciences  Agronomics 

Code Science Field
4.01  Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences  Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries 
Tartary buckwheat, cultivars, quality, metabolites, nutrition
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (31)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  09774  PhD Bojan Budič  Chemistry  Researcher  2018 - 2020 
2.  05222  PhD Alenka Gaberščik  Biology  Researcher  2018 - 2020 
3.  15122  PhD Mateja Germ  Biology  Researcher  2018 - 2020 
4.  34326  PhD Aleksandra Golob  Biology  Researcher  2018 - 2020 
5.  39096  PhD Mateja Grašič  Biology  Junior researcher  2018 - 2020 
6.  18555  PhD Samo Hočevar  Chemistry  Researcher  2018 - 2021 
7.  39476  Maša Hribar  Public health (occupational safety)  Researcher  2018 - 2021 
8.  51995  PhD Hristo Hristov  Public health (occupational safety)  Researcher  2019 - 2021 
9.  37462  PhD Boštjan Jenčič  Physics  Researcher  2018 - 2021 
10.  13010  PhD Nina Kacjan Maršić  Plant production  Researcher  2018 - 2021 
11.  38121  PhD Anja Kavčič  Systems and cybernetics  Junior researcher  2018 - 2019 
12.  37782  Mitja Kelemen    Technical associate  2018 - 2021 
13.  05007  PhD Darja Kocjan-Ačko  Plant production  Researcher  2018 - 2020 
14.  00950  PhD Ivan Kreft  Plant production  Retired researcher  2018 - 2021 
15.  54315  Sanja Krušič  Public health (occupational safety)  Researcher  2020 - 2021 
16.  22463  PhD Anita Kušar  Plant production  Head  2018 - 2021 
17.  36048  PhD Živa Lavriša  Public health (occupational safety)  Junior researcher  2018 
18.  20428  PhD Matevž Likar  Biology  Researcher  2018 - 2021 
19.  05083  PhD Zlata Luthar  Biotechnology  Researcher  2018 - 2020 
20.  39242  PhD Nina Mikec  Biochemistry and molecular biology  Junior researcher  2018 - 2020 
21.  36493  PhD Krista Miklavec  Public health (occupational safety)  Researcher  2018 
22.  10677  PhD Marijan Nečemer  Chemistry  Researcher  2018 - 2021 
23.  12314  PhD Primož Pelicon  Physics  Researcher  2018 - 2021 
24.  50408  PhD Urška Pivk Kupirovič  Interdisciplinary research  Researcher  2019 - 2020 
25.  24300  PhD Igor Pravst  Public health (occupational safety)  Researcher  2018 - 2021 
26.  12013  PhD Marjana Regvar  Biology  Researcher  2018 - 2020 
27.  25442  PhD Martin Šala  Chemistry  Researcher  2018 - 2021 
28.  23492  PhD Vid Simon Šelih  Chemistry  Researcher  2018 - 2021 
29.  23261  PhD Johannes Teun Van Elteren  Chemistry  Researcher  2018 - 2021 
30.  21623  PhD Katarina Vogel Mikuš  Biology  Researcher  2018 - 2021 
31.  24278  PhD Katja Žmitek  Public health (occupational safety)  Researcher  2018 - 2021 
Organisations (4)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  3018  NUTRITION INSTITUTE  Ljubljana  3609081000 
2.  0104  National Institute of Chemistry  Ljubljana  5051592000  10 
3.  0106  Jožef Stefan Institute  Ljubljana  5051606000  18 
4.  0481  University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty  Ljubljana  1626914  11 
Globally two types of buckwheat are used: common buckwheat (CB) (Fagopyrum esculentum Moench), and Tartary buckwheat (TB) (Fagopyrum tataricum (L.) Gaertner). Slovenia has an unexploited potential to extend the cultivatation of TB, which would diversify crops, enable the use of marginal agricultural areas. TB can be also sowed on fields as a second crop in the year after harvesting wheat or barley. Buckwheat groats and flour have been established as a nutritious food because of the quantity and quality of the contained proteins - with a favorable amino-acid composition, and because of other constituents, particularly minerals, rutin, and quercetin. Actually, a number of preparations and food products contain Tartary buckwheat or isolated rutin as active/therapeutic ingredients - both globally, and in the Slovenian market. Examples of such products are rutin-containing pharmaceutical preparations, gluten-free Tartary buckwheat foods, and a Tartary buckwheat herb-tea. Numerous reports exist about the potential health benefits of consuming buckwheat, which may be in a form of food, dietary supplements, home remedies or possibly pharmaceutical drugs. Recently, buckwheat herb was suggested as a functional food. Buckwheat, particularly TB, is also gaining increased public interest as healthy food ingredients, presenting an opportunity for responsible innovation in the industry. For example, beside its nutritional use, milled dried plants may be added as natural colorant to ice-cream, pasta, and other products. However, although in the last decade the TB has gained considerable attention in the scientific community, a number of questions remains about its structure, particularly about the presence of bioactive ingredients with potential health effects. Questions remain both in the area, which bioactive components are actually present in the plants, and how are those distributed within the plant. This project is therefore focused in exploitation of the correlations between the structures and metabolic composition of Tartary buckwheat. We will investigate separation techniques to obtain buckwheat grain milling fractions with different levels of key metabolites (rutin, quercetin, (epi)catechin), as a starting material for production of functional foods. We will also exploit possibilities for sustainable use of the remaining material, for example for effective extraction of rutin, quercetin, catechin, epicatechin, emodine, resveratrol, and fagopyrin. Sustainability will be also addressed with identification of suitable cultivation methods (different time of sowing and harvest) in order to improve the harvest quality and quantity of TB in different cultivation systems. Particular attention will be focused into investigation of metabolites of the phenilpropanoid pathway, as precursors of quercetin and rutin, and emodin and fagopyrins in anthraquinones group of metabolites. Latest state-of-the-art techniques will be used not only to measure levels of these constituents, but particularly to identify in which part of the plant those are being accumulated.  Among main objectives of the projects are testing the feasibility of cultivation of experimental lines of TB in different altitude conditions (300, 600, 800 and 1100 m) in Slovenia, and finding among existing TB lines the most promising one(s) to be submitted to official testing for obtaining registered plant varieties of TB. Project will also focus into effective dissemination of the results. The project’s dissemination plan has been designed in order to target the different stakeholders, also beyond the scientific community. The project’s evidence based recommendations will be communicated to farmers and food industry. For example, we will prepare a technological manual on how to obtain high quality materials from buckwheat, and how to effectively use them in food production. General public will be also targeted, raising awareness of the benefits of consumption of TB.
Significance for science
In recent years, Tartary buckwheat is gaining a significant interest in food and agricultural sciences. According to Thompson Scientific Web of Science index (WoS), the number of papers related with Tartary buckwheat is increasing - from 11 in 2006, to 44 in 2015, and 61 in 2017. Similar trend can be also noted in citations. Just for an example: Our paper »Tartary buckwheat (Fagopyrum tataricum Gaertn.) as a source of dietary rutin and quercitrin”, which was published in 2003 (J Agric Food Chem, 51, 6452-5) was cited 5 times in 2006, 25 times in 2015, and 35 times in 2016 (data for 2017 are not yet complete; all data are excluding self-citations).   The proposed project will provide new insights in the composition of Tartary buckwheat, with particular focus to bioactive secondary metabolites. The distribution of organic molecules with masses between 200 and 1000 Da in the grains and in the plant tissue sections will be measured with MeV-SIMS – a new method, developed by members of our research team (Jenčič et al., 2016). For the first time globally, this procedure will be used to investigate secondary metabolites in plant samples, and the sample preparation method will be developed for this type of plant material.   In combination with LA-ICP-MS, which generates spatially resolved quantitative information on major, minor, and trace element levels, offering a depth resolution in the order of 150 nm per pulse and a lateral resolution in the order of the laser beam size (5-250 µm), we will be able of imaging, elemental depth profiling and elemental mapping via laser drilling and/or rastering. This will provide completely new insights into the structures and metabolite composition of Tartary buckwheat herb and grain.   Results of proposed project will support new methods and insights also to the research of metabolites and macro-, micro- and trace elements in other crop plants.
Significance for the country
The proposed project is in line with the Resolution on Research and Innovation Strategy of Slovenia (RISS) and Slovenia’s Smart Specialization Strategy (S4), where innovativeness in the area of functional foods is included as one of 8 key areas of national specialisation.   The project’s objectives are in line with the Slovenian strategic resolution on the development of Slovenian agriculture and the food industry until 2020 “Food for the future”, the WHO recommendations, and the European Food and Nutrition Action Plan 2015-2020 (EU FNAP). The project will provide insights into sustainable production and utilisation of Tartary buckwheat (TB). Particularly applied focus of the project is reintroduction of Tartary buckwheat varieties to the higher altitudes locations (including altitudes around 600, 800, and 1100m), where farmers still remember that their parents were growing buckwheat, including Tartary buckwheat. as a crop as well on less fertile soil and severe climatic conditions. Many of such fields are now overgrown by bushes. However, farmers and society are highly interested in the results of this project for cultivate crops, able for be used directly as a food and sold as novel high quality products in domestic and foreign markets. Results of this project will support farmers to recultivate high areas fields and to support farmers to remain in areas endangered by the threat of depopulation. Project's relevance for agriculture and society is proven by the co-financing by the lovenian Government (Ministry of Agriculture, forestry and food: 25%).   This proposal for this applied project was initiated and prepared in tight collaboration and partnership with farmers and with small and medium enterprises (SME), highly interested for the development of products with high nutritional quality. Farmers in different mountain areas in Slovenia are partners in this project in experimental growing of Tartary buckwheat. Slovenian novel Tartary buckwheat product (Tartary buckwheat groats), produced by Rangus mill was accepted as a novelty on BIOFACH 2018 in Nürenberg, Germany. SMEs are already including Tartary buckwheat products as an export commodity, special interest is based on the fact that Tartary buckwheat is safe for celiac patients, and suitable for the material, from which gluten-free products can be made. A number of farmers and producers will be directly included to project, as described in the attached Project description.   Based on the results of the project, enterprises will be able to compete with high quality organically grown gluten-free products, based on Tartary buckwheat, on EU market and globally. By the registration of Tartary buckwheat cultivars (in the process) the intellectual property, based on development of domestic genetic diversity, will be protected.Furthermore, project results will support food reformulation and responsible food production decisions in the food industry towards novel high quality products.
Most important scientific results Interim report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Interim report
Views history