Lukas Blythe: Undergraduate

                                     Lukas measuring the root systems of his acidic examples.

Problem Statement:

  • Acidic soils in Montana have a major impact on Montana growers, In fact, approximately half of the Earth’s arable soils are acidic; some from natural process, some from modern agriculture. Acid-affected soils can deplete barley yield as much as 50% due to reductions in the barley's root systems. There are currently methods to combat acidic soils, but the most cost-efficient is growing acid-resistant varieties.


root rolls


  • The purpose of this research is to identify which of our barley lines are acid-tolerant and then to identify genetically why these lines are acid-tolerant. If we were to identify what makes these lines acid-resistant, then we could use this information to further build acid-resistant lines with more desirable traits.


  • Build a greenhouse method that is able to provide more useful data, we are in the process of finishing this step.                           
  • Perform tests on heirloom populations to understand if they are displaying acid-tolerant trait                                
  • Attempt to identify the genetic makeup behind acid-tolerance
roots rolls in varying acid treatments seedlings to be measured for acid tolerance


  • If a newly developed greenhouse method is created, then we will be able to provide more consistent screening and more useful data.

                                                    Hand placing a seedling to grow in the designed system