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Joris Cambie, Hop farm brewery, De Plukker, Belgium

Challenges and opportunities for organic hop production in Belgium

Joris Cambie of De Plukker is one of the most famous and well respected hop farmers in Belgium. His family has been growing hops for five generations in Poperinge, the capital of Belgian hop growing. He took over the farm in 1993 and converted the arable land into organic production. At that time, he had about 10 ha of conventional hops. In 1998 a little hop garden went into organic, 5 years later all hops were organic. He then stopped growing organic vegetables and focused mainly on organic hop production. Today he grows 15 ha of organic hops with mainly English aroma varieties: Fuggle, Golding, Challenger, WGV. Pilgrim and Phoenix as alpha varieties and also Cascade and Centenial. On average he gets 75% yields compared to conventional. The last crop, all hops have been processed into pellets on the farm. In 2011, he started a microbrewery on his farm, choosing to brew beer only with hops that he grows himself. Even though he grew up on that hop farm, it wasn’t his ambition as a young man to follow in his father’s footsteps. Here he describes how trips to hop farms in America and England in his early twenties fuelled his enthusiasm to continue the family tradition and sparked the idea to start a brewery. He talks about the challenges he faces as a hop grower and the dichotomy of being a hop farmer and brewery owner. Sit back, listen and enjoy Joris Cambie of hop farm brewery, De Plukker.

David Hendrix, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Oregon State University, USA

Hop genome assembly: A computational puzzle that helps plant breeders?

The Hendrix Lab at Oregon State University employs a broad range of computational approaches, from machine learning to data mining, to investigate questions concerning RNA and DNA. We seek to use computational biology and bioinformatics to analyze RNA sequence and structure, and to uncover new mechanisms of gene regulation, as well as validate known biology. As part of both the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics in the College of Sciences, as well as the School for Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in the College of Engineering, the Hendrix Lab seeks to combine molecular mechanisms of molecular biology and state-of-the-art computational techniques. One major objective of our lab is to understand how biological information, encoded in nucleic acid sequences, direct the structure, function and mechanisms of action of these molecules. We aim to discover new insight into gene regulation, structure, and function, by developing novel computational approaches for the integration of structural predictions, genome-wide sequence analysis, and deep sequencing data.

Ludger Wessjohann, Chair Bioorganic Chemistry, Leibniz Institute of Plant Biochemistry, Germany

Combating hops downy mildew based on combined knowledge from metabolomics, genomics and phenotypization

Professor Wessjohann studied chemistry in Hamburg (Germany) and Southampton (UK), and obtained his PhD with Prof. de Meijere from Hamburg University after a sandwich PhD-study in Oslo (Norway, Prof. Skattebøl). He then worked as lecturer and project leader in Brazil before starting a Feodor-Lynen postdoctoral fellowship (Alexander v. Humboldt foundation) with Prof. Wender, Stanford University (USA). During his habilitation at LMU Munich (mentor Prof. Steglich) he accepted the offer for a full professorship of bioorganic chemistry at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (NL) in 1998. Since 2000 he is Director of the department of bioorganic chemistry of the Leibniz Institute of Plant Biochemistry (IPB) in Halle, at which he served as managing director from 2010-2017. In parallel, he holds the chair of natural product chemistry at Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg. He is an expert in the chemistry of natural products and their applications. His research covers the analytical chemistry of plants, higher fungi and associated microorganisms foremost on the metabolome level, studying phylogenetic, environmental and bioactivity relationships. Data are evaluated by commercial and proprietory algorithms and informatics tools. Isolation of relevant bioactive constituents is followed by chemical and biological characterization, synthesis and derivatization. The knowledge generated is channelled into applications, e.g. for new drug leads, flavors, or plant protectants. The group features top end infrastructure and expertise in plant biochemistry, phytochemistry, metabolomics, food and medicinal chemistry, chemoinformatics, biotransformations and chemical synthesis.


Jens Wünsche

University of Hohenheim

Eva Gautsch

Interplan AG

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