Rothamsted Research

where knowledge grows

Case studies

Our work is trully collaborative and international, with relationships in over 40 countries and partners ranging from research institutes to small, medium and large size businesses. Our current figures on external collaborations include:

  • 126 collaboration agreements with universities and research institutes worldwide;
  • 50 studentships funded by UK Research Councils, by industry or by both;
  • 27 contract research agreements with businesses;
  • 28 collaborations, 5 consortia, 8 Defra projects and 10 LINK projects with industrial partners.

Our work has had huge impact throughout the world. We are perhaps best known for our long term experiments and synthetic pyrethroids, however we continue to create and develop new successes each year. A selection of case studies is available below.

Pest Management

Rothamsted and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine have developed a technology to lure dust mites through their natural ‘communication chemistry’.

Rothamsted and the University of Aberdeen are using natural ‘communication chemistry' to develop a formulation that repels harmful biting insects.

Rothamsted has developed an integrated management system to prevent attacks from the Orange Wheat Blossom Midge, which causes substantial losses in both crop yield and quality.

Rothamsted has developed a 'temporal synergism' technology that could potentially ’reverse’ the pesticide resistance that has developed in some pest species.

Rothamsted is combining genetic engineering with knowledge of plant defence mechanisms to develop wheat plants that can repel aphids.

Rothamsted has helped develop a simple companion planting system that has tripled maize yields in Africa. An appropriate and economical technology based on locally available plants.

Public Health and Environment Protection

Rothamsted has identified genes involved in the uptake of silicon that also allow the passage of arsenite into rice. This discovery could  protect millions of rice consumers from arsenic poisoning.

Rothamsted has developed a process based on co-products of biodiesel manufacture that could improve nitrogen fertiliser effectiveness and have significant environmental benefits.

Rothamsted is working on mechanisms to modify the fat synthesis pathway in rapeseed in order to produce vegetable fats (similar to human milk fats) that will be applicable for infant nutrition.

Rothamsted is combining genetic and metabolic engineering to produce Camelina seeds with novel plant oils to help fish farmers achieve better health and environmental benefits.

Rothamsted and the Burkard Manufacturing Company have developed an air sampling device that can help to protect the human and animal health and the environment against crop diseases.

Rothamsted is helping to develop and teach new farming practices in China, reducing by 60% the use of N-fertiliser, with no loss of yield and with a greatly decreased environmental impact.

Rothamsted's work in understanding bee population dynamics (through armonic radar technology) could help deliver options for sustainable and productive agro-ecosystems.

Biomass and Sustainability

By genetically engineering the oil biosynthetic pathway in Arabidopsis, Rothamsted is developing new approaches to increasethe lipid content of plants for food and fuel.

Rothamsted & Delta-T devices have developed a sensor to control irrigation systems, allowing accurate measurement of soil drying by roots and potentially reducing water waste.


Rothamsted is finding mechanisms  to increase the oil yield in oilseed crops such as canola (rapeseed) using natural and induced genetic variation and targeted transgenic approaches.

Rothamsted’s classical experiments (the oldest continuous agronomic experiments in the world) have been running since the 1840s and continue to help us understand agriculture, ecology and the environment.

Rothamsted has created statistical and data analysis software for the biological and life sciencies industry, with free worldwide access for education and developing countries, now commercialised via VSN International.