Catherine Walsh

Optimising yield and flavour consistency of rocket greens

I am excited to carry out my PhD project as part of the WCTP, working with Bakkavor at Lancaster University. It is a really interesting project, focussing on how perennial wall rocket (Diplotaxis tenuifolia) utilises the C2 photosynthesis pathway to improve yield and flavour with minimal resource inputs. The pathway essentially operates as a carbon concentration mechanism and recycles photorespired CO2 to maximise carboxylation under stress conditions. I will be researching how this pathway operates in relation to the C5 pathway and amino acid synthesis, that are responsible for volatile organic compounds and glucosinolates to maintain flavour quality and consistency. The results of this project will then contribute towards the knowledge required by growers to mitigate climate change while maintaining yields to support growing demand.

I am pleased to be back at Lancaster University where I previously studied for a MSc in sustainable agriculture and food security. Prior to being at Lancaster, I gained a BSc in horticulture at Myerscough College. Before starting my PhD, I was previously the head grower for a fine dining restaurant, where I gained experience growing a diverse selection of crops. I have a love of growing and cooking good food for my family and friends. I’m particularly interested in sustainable crop production to preserve the environment for future generations.

Based at: Lancaster University

Industry Partner: Bakkavor

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