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Helena Persson Hovmalm

Helena Persson Hovmalm
I am a researcher at the Department of Plant Breeding. I belong to the Plant Product Quality group where we study content and composition of various components (e.g. proteins, vitamins, antioxidants) in crops and how they can provide a higher quality of the end product. My research focuses on aspects like cultivation method and postharvest handling and how these different aspects affect the product quality. I am also involved in genetic diversity analyses of different crops and studies on potential uses of green biomass for food and non-food products.


Organisation, implementation and teaching in “Applied laboratory methodology in plant breeding”, PhD course, 2009, SLU.

Organisation, implementation and teaching in “How to write a scientific paper”, PhD course, 2010, 2012, 2014, SLU.

Organisation, implementation and teaching in “Introductory course for PhD students”, PhD course, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, SLU.

Organisation and implementation of “Popular Science Writing”, PhD course, 2011, 2013, SLU.

Organization and implementation of “Aspects of quality: raw material, processing and final product”, PhD course, 2017, SLU.

Organisation and implementation of a course module given by SLU in the MSc programme “Chemistry and processing of local resources”, Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, Maputo, Mozambique, 2014, 2015.

Organisation, implementation and teaching in the course module “Research methodology” in the MSc programme “Agriculture, spec. Crop Science”, University of Rwanda, Huye, Rwanda, 2016, 2018.

Teaching in “Genetics and plant breeding”, Hortonomprogrammet, 2016, 2017, 2018.


Research projects that I currently participate in:

Fertigation with organic N-fertilizers in Swedish apple production: In this project the aim is to find fertilization strategies based on organic N that can increase yield and fruit quality in Swedish organic apples.

Intermediate cover crops as potential protein source: In this project we analyse the protein content in green biomass from different cover crops to evaluate their potential for multi-purpose use.

Content of bioactive substances and thylakoids in green biomass: The addition of thylakoids to food have been shown to decrease feelings of hunger and increase satiety. Thylakoids are found primarily in the leaves of plants and in this project we aim at identifying crops that can be used for a sustainable extraction of thylakoids.

Grogrund: Products based on protein rich crops – demands and possibilities: In this project we will investigate the demand from producers, food industry and end users and identify raw material/products that potentially can strengthen the competitiveness of Swedish agricultural production. We will also try to find out if there is a need for breeding to develop products with specific traits.

I am also participating in the Interreg project SouthBaltic FoodInno – Developing food innovation capacity in the South Baltic region.


PhD in Plant Breeding/Horticultural Plant Breeding, 2002, SLU.

Master of Science in Biology, 1995, Lund University.


I supervise and examine students' theses at the MSc and BSc levels. I am assistant supervisor of five ongoing PhD student projects and have been assistant supervisor of three completed PhD student projects.

Selected publications


Mukamuhirwa A, Persson Hovmalm H, Bolinsson H, Ortiz R, Nyamangyoku O, Johansson E (2019) Concurrent drought and temperature stress in rice — a possible result of the predicted climate change: effects on yield attributes, eating characteristics, and health promoting compounds. Int J Environ Res Public Health 2019, 16(6), 1043.

Batte M, Swennen R, Uwimana B, Akech V, Brown A, Tumuhimbise R, Persson Hovmalm H, Geleta M, Ortiz R (2019) Crossbreeding East African highland bananas: lessons learnt relevant to the botany of the crop after 21 years of genetic enhancement. Front Plant Sci, 05 February 2019.


Batte M, Mukiibi A, Swennen R, Uwimana B, Pocasangre L, Persson Hovmalm H, Geleta M, Ortiz R (2018) Suitability of existing Musa morphological descriptors to characterize East African highland ‘matooke’ bananas. Genet Resour Crop Evol, 65 (2), 645–657.

Mukamuhirwa A, Persson Hovmalm H, Ortiz R, Nyamangyoku O, Johansson E (2018) Quality and grain yield attributes of Rwandan rice (Oryza sativa L.) cultivars grown in a biotron applying two NPK levels. J Food Quality, 2018.


Odilbekov F, Edin E, Garkava-Gustavsson L, Persson Hovmalm H, Liljeroth E (2016) Genetic diversity and occurrence of the F129L substitutions among isolates of Alternaria solani in southeastern Sweden. Hereditas 153, 10.     

Hailu F, Labuschagne M, von Biljon A, Persson Hovmalm H, Johansson E (2016) Quality assessment with HPLC in released varieties of tetraploid (Triticum durum Desf.) wheat from Ethiopia and Spain. Cereal Res Comm, 44 (4), 1-11.


Johansson E, Prade T, Angelidaki I, Svensson S-E, Newson WR, Gunnarsson IB, Persson Hovmalm H (2015) Economically viable components from Jerusalem Artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus L.) in a biorefinery concept. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 16: 8997-9016.


Hegay S, Geleta M, Bryngelsson T, Asanaliev A, Garkava-Gustavsson L, Persson Hovmalm H, Ortiz R (2014) Genetic diversity analysis in Phaseolus vulgaris L. using morphological traits. Genet Resour Crop Evol, 61 (3), 555-566.  


Hegay S, Ortiz R, Garkava-Gustavsson L, Persson Hovmalm H, Geleta M (2013) Marker-aided breeding for resistance to bean common mosaic virus in Kyrgyz bean cultivars. Euphytica, 193 (1), 67-78.

Hegay S, Geleta M, Bryngelsson T,  Asanaliev A, Garkava-Gustavsson L, Persson Hovmalm H, Ortiz, R (2013) Introducing host-plant resistance to anthracnose in Kyrgyz common bean through inoculation-based and marker-aided selection. Plant Breeding, 133 (1),



Researcher at the Department of Plant Breeding
Telephone: +4640415337, +46703561641
Postal address:
Växtförädling, Box 190
234 22 LOMMA
Visiting address: Sundsvägen 10, Alnarp