Boosting local production of organic high quality grain (BOOST)

Consumer demand for locally produced high quality bread and flour is increasing, but Danish grain, and in particular organic wheat, suffers from low protein content making it difficult to meet consumer demand. Biodiversity is also of increasing consumer interest as a way to increase resilience in both natural and cultivated systems, challenging the credibility of current organic practice relaying on monocultures from conventional seed industry, propagated under conventional conditions except for the last seed generation.

The aim of BOOST is to involve stakeholders from the entire value chain in a joint effort to increase resilience in organic grain production by increasing diversity in food and field, and increase credibility to organic principles by breaking dependence of conventional industry within breeding and food industry and increasing self-sufficiency in all levels of the value chain.

The new EU Regulation for organic farming introduces two new seed categories, Organic Bred Varieties and Organic Heterogeneous Material. These shall be promoted in the market, and makes it easier to increase diversity by reducing market introduction. However to achieve that, challenges within market structure and seed pathology need to be solved.

Current market structure cannot finance organic plant breeding, as the organic area is still too small, and common bunt in wheat will develop within seed lots if these in future shall be propagated for multible years without fungicide seed treatment. The project will invest in new technology to improve protein content in organic seed lots, and develop new processing tools for organic food products. Furthermore, the project will develop new breeding strategies taking into account de dynamic changes in resistance and pathogen virulence over time in heterogeneous material under untreated conditions.


The main objective of BOOST is to boost the organic grain business by improving quality and diversity of local grain. This is done through the project's key activities, which are described below: 

  • Plant breeding with focus on resilient population with high genetic diversity.

  • Development of a local based seed system independent of the conventional seed industry involving the entire value chain.

  • Investment in novel technology able to post harvest quality improvement of organic grain.

  • Product development to increase added value in organic food industry.


BOOST is divided into 4 work packages (WPs), which are led by the respective partners in the project. The UCPH is responsible for WP4, which is lead by Associate Professor Michael Bom Frøst. 

WP1: Development of an organic sustainable seed system
WP manager: Lone Andreasen, Landsorten
The work package will organise multiplication, and develop market structures of the organic bred varieties and heterogeneous material, and will also manage the BOOST project that supports it.

WP 2: Development of genetic resources for organic farming
WP manager: Anders Borgen, Agrologica
WP2 will breed and select germplasm to be used to compose heterogeneous plant propagation material and organic bred varieties with traits meeting organic market demand. 

WP 3: Implementing high technology seed sorting to improve organic seed quality
WP manager: Visti Møller, Gl. Buurholt Hovedgård
WP3 will exploit an alternative way to improve protein content and baking quality.

Workpackage 4: Product development of high quality grain
WP manager: Michael Bom Frøst, UCPH FOOD

Products such as semolina, bulgur and freekeh have so far not been able to be produced from Danish grain due to lack of locally adapted varieties of durum and wheat. Initiatives in WP1 and WP2 provide new opportunities for the development of locally produced cereal products, but research is needed into the potential of foods from locally produced grain, and into the development of new applications for the new wheat varieties.

UCPH FOOD will carry out analysis of grain quality and the development of parameters for managing NIT-based single-kernel sorting. The NIT technology invested for in WP3 can also be used to sort for other parameters, including falling number, kernel hardiness etc.

UCPH FOOD have two lab models of the same type as TriQ, and will develop calibrations for falling number and other possible quality-improving parameters to improve capacity utilization for the investment in WP3.

In the period 2021-09 to 2023-08, UCPH FOOD has a dedicated EU-funded research project on freekeh (AnaFree) which is a product of durum wheat harvested before maturity and treated with special drying techniques and smoking, which gives a special taste and improved health effect of e.g. a low glycemic index.

The product is widespread in the Middle East with increasing market potential also in Northern Europe. UCPH FOOD will use this expertise to develop and test freekeh from locally produced grains.


Participating project partners:

Companies providing external assistance:

  • TraitGenomics, Germany

  • BoMill

  • Klosser Innovasjon, Norge




Name Title Phone E-mail
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Alon Cnaany Postdoc +4535324026 E-mail
Birthe P Møller Jespersen Associate Professor +4535333507 E-mail
Michael Bom Frøst Associate Professor +4535333207 E-mail

Funded by:


BOOST has received a four year funding from GUDP

Project: Boosting local production of organic high quality grain (BOOST)
Period:  January 1st, 2022 - December 31st, 2025
Total budget: 9,067,943 DKK


Michael Bom FrøstMichael Bom Frøst
Associate Professor