ADAM WHITEHOUSE: Project Leader Strawberry Breeding, NIAB

Adam Whitehouse is a Senior Fruit Breeder at NIAB at East Malling, Kent, UK, and is primarily focussed on genetic improvement and varietal development in the cultivated strawberry (Fragaria X ananassa).

Adam started at East Malling in 1997 and is currently the lead for the East Malling Strawberry Breeding Club (EMSBC) programme. This programme, started in 2008, is currently funded by public-private consortium and is a continuation on the UK National programme that commenced in 1983. In addition to commercial variety development, Adam’s research interests and activities have centred on public-funded and private commissioned projects that have included pest and disease resistance investigations through numerous associated projects, somaclonal variation in strawberry for improved traits, developing breeding strategies for genotypes to be used in the different production and programmed systems, variety trialling and industry outreach.

Key varieties released have included the short-day cultivar, ‘Malling™ Centenary’ which has been adopted as the UK industry standard cultivar and has sold more than 330 million plants since release in 2013, and more recently (2019) ‘Malling™ Ace’, a high-yielding, high-quality everbearing-type that has piqued interest in Northern Europe.

NIAB is one of Britain’s oldest agricultural science research centres. It was founded, as the National Institute of Agricultural Botany, in 1919, as a charitable trust, to promote the improvement of British crops.