Research areas

Last changed: 15 April 2024

C4F (Crop for the Future) is one part of the strategic research area TC4F (Trees and Crops for the Future). Its major aim is to develop sustainable novel plant-based products through using modern technologies to contribute to the development of a circular bioeconomy in Sweden. The whole program of TC4F was started through the governmental funding of strategic research areas in 2010.

Focus and scope of C4F

The focus of C4F is specially on the area of plant-based products by using modern technologies. However, C4F is strategically interlinked to other large, medium and small programs at SLU, focusing on research and development in other areas of the chain. A close cooperation with similar and/or complementing national and international research environments is a matter of course for C4F. Of specific value for C4F are the ongoing opportunities that Max IV, and in the future ESS offer.

Targeted research areas of C4F

1. Improvement of quantities and qualities of oils, starches, proteins, minerals and bioactive compounds and other metabolites or traits in crops for various applications
Plants provide raw materials for food, feed and industrial applications. The properties of these raw materials are controlled by the genetic makeups of the plants, and by crop production systems applied, crop managements and environmental factors. In this research area, C4F intends to understand molecular mechanisms underlying biosynthetic pathways as well as genetic and physiological mechanisms to target variations. Moreover, C4F intends to tailor content and composition of oil, protein, starch and other important bioactive compounds using modern molecular methods and characterizing tools.

2. Development of processing and analysis tools in order to determine and characterize properties of the abovementioned components
Development of processing conditions and analyzing tools is important for determining and characterizing the properties of plant raw materials. C4F intends to apply, improve and develop the most modern technologies, including those available at the national research platforms to describe and understand the characteristics of compounds of interest and opportunities to fine-tune properties of such compounds.

3. Development of novel crops- and bio-based products close to market
The ultimate goal of our research is to bring our research results into market. C4F will collaborate with other projects and with relevant partners and SLU Holding to develop products out of the researches obtained within C4F.

4. Development of novel production systems of the abovementioned components such as plant, microbial, and tissue culture based systems
A large-scale production of some important compounds is desirable for food, feed and industrial applications. Development of innovative production systems for such compounds will enable their cost effective production. C4F intends to develop novel processed, plant- and microbial-based systems for production of specific and pure components of interest to evaluate specific characteristics and long-term production of certain components in higher quantities for pharmaceutical, food or other industrial and medical applications.

5. Evaluation of structure-function relationships of certain biobased materials for various applications
The structures of plant-based components often affect their functions and practical applications. C4F intends to evaluate the structure of some important components after certain production treatments and relate their structures to their functional performances in various applications.


Eva Johansson, Professor, Programleader C4F
Department of Plant Breeding, SLU, 040-41 55 62, 076-128 57 37

Postal address: Box 190, 234 22 Lomma

Li-Hua Zhu, Professor, Vice Programleader C4F
Department of Plant Breeding, SLU, 040-41 53 73, 072-236 37 80

Postal adress: Box 190, 234 22 Lomma