College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences

Dept. of Crop and Soil Sciences

Kevin Murphy

faculty page photo

Assistant Professor
Barley and Alternative Crop Breeding
Sustainable Seed Systems Lab

273 Johnson Hall
PO Box 646420
Pullman WA 99164-6420 USA
Phone 509-335-9692
FAX 509-335-8674




Curriculum Vitae (pdf)

Ph.D., Plant Breeding and Genetics, Washington State University, 2007
M.S., Crop Science, Washington State University, 2004
B.S., Biology, The Colorado College, 1994

Crops 443: Plant Breeding for Organic Agriculture
AFS 201: Systems Skills Development for Agriculture and Food Systems
AFS 302: Introduction to Agroecology

Past Courses
AFS/SoilS 101: Organic Farming and Gardening
AFS/SoilS 445/545: Field Analysis of Sustainable Food Systems

I lead the barley and alternative crop breeding program at WSU. Our goal is to increase the genetic- and bio-diversity of cropping systems across Washington State through the development of new cultivars and ecologically-rooted production practices. Within barley, we continually work towards the release of climate resilient, disease resistant and high yielding feed, food and malt cultivars. Food barley development focuses on the improvement of nutritional characteristics in the emerging food barley market class, and we contribute to this exciting field of study through research on β-glucan and hulless traits, and through new projects on the genetics of tocols, phenols and mineral concentration in barley. In addition to barley breeding and genetics, our group focuses on quinoa breeding and agroecology for organic systems, buckwheat nutrition, spelt and perennial wheat breeding, amaranth genetics, and proso millet varietal selection and agronomy. General traits/systems of importance across the crops we study include nutritional value, heat tolerance, drought tolerance, resistance to rusts and mildews, intercropping, deficit irrigation, and evolutionary participatory breeding.

Murphy, K., and J.B. Matanguihan (eds.) (2015). Quinoa: Improvement and Sustainable Production, Wiley-Blackwell. Hoboken, New Jersey, USA. Link to purchase book.

Varieties and Germplasm
Murphy, K
., S.E. Ullrich, M.B. Wood, J.B. Matanguihan, V.A. Jitkov, S.O. Guy, X. Chen, B.O. Brouwer, S.R. Lyon, and S.S. Jones (2015). Registration of ‘Muir’ spring feed barley. Journal of Plant Registrations 9:283-287.

Meints, B., A. Cuesta-Marcos, S. Fisk, A.S. Ross, K. Murphy, and P.M. Hayes (2015). Registration of ‘#STRKR’ barley germplasm. Journal of Plant Registrations 9:388-392.

Murphy, K., S. Ullrich, M. Wood, J. Matanguihan, S. Guy, V Jitkov, and X. Chen (2015). Registration of ‘Lyon’, a two-row, spring feed barley. Journal of Plant Registrations 9:6-9.

Jones, S.S., S.R. Lyon, K.A. Balow, M.A. Gollnick, K. Murphy, J. Kuehner, X.M. Chen, T.D. Murray, D.A. Engle, and K.G. Campbell (2010). Registration of ‘Xerpha’ wheat. Journal of Plant Registrations 4:137-140. IF=0.62.

Jones, S.S., S.R. Lyon, K.A. Balow, M.A. Gollnick, K. Murphy, T.D. Murray, X.M. Chen, K.G. Campbell, J.W. Burns, W.F. Schillinger, P.E. Reisenauer, and B.J. Goates (2007). Registration of ‘MDM’ wheat. Journal of Plant Registrations 1: 104-106. IF=0.62.

Selected Publications
Vico, G., S. Manzoni, L. Nkurunziza, K. Murphy, and M. Weih (2015). Trade-offs between seed output and life span – a quantitative comparison of traits between annual and perennial congeneric species. New Phytologist.

Peterson, A.J., and K. Murphy (2015). Quinoa Cultivation for Temperate North America: Considerations and Areas for Investigation, In: Quinoa: Improvement and Sustainable Production, K.M. Murphy and J.G. Matanguihan, (eds.), Wiley-Blackwell. Hoboken, New Jersey, USA.

Brouwer, B.O., K. Murphy, and S.S. Jones (2015). Plant breeding for local food systems: A contextual review of end-use selection for small grains and dry beans in Western Washington. Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems.

Peterson, A.J., S.-E. Jacobsen, A. Bonifacio, and K. Murphy* (2015). A crossing method for quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa). Sustainability 7: 3230-3243.

Meints, B., A. Cuesta-Marcos, A.S. Ross, S. Fisk, T. Kongraksawech, J. Marshall, K. Murphy, and P.M. Hayes (2015). Developing winter food barley for the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. Crop Science 55:1563-1573.

Peterson, A. and K. Murphy* (2015). Tolerance of lowland quinoa cultivars to sodium chloride and sodium sulfate salinity. Crop Science 55: 331-338.

Wu, G., K. Murphy, and C. Morris (2014). Evaluation of texture differences among varieties of cooked quinoa. Journal of Food Science 79(11): S2337-S2345.

Rustgi, S., J. Matanguihan, J. Mejias, R.A. Brew-Appiah, N. Wen, C. Osorio, N. Ankrah, K. Murphy, and D. von Wettstein (2014). Assessment of genetic diversity among barley cultivars and breeding lines adapted to the US Pacific Northwest, and its implications in barley breeding for imidazoline-resistance. PLoS ONE 9(6):e100998.

Lu, L., K. Murphy,and  B.-K. Baik (2013). Genotypic variation in nutritional composition of buckwheat groats and husks. Cereal Chemistry 90: 132-137.

Abi-Ghanem, R., L. Carpenter-Boggs, R.T. Koenig, J.L. Ullman, K. Murphy, and C.D. Pannkuk (2013). Access to agricultural inputs, technology and information, communicating with farmers, and the role of women in agriculture: Perceptions of Iraq extension agents. Journal of International Agricultural and Extension Education 20: 6-18.

Murphy, K., A.H. Carter, and S.S. Jones (2013). Evolutionary Breeding and Climate Change, In: Genomics and Breeding for Climate-Resilient Crops, Vol. 1 Concepts and Strategies. C. Kole (ed.); Springer.

Arterburn, M., K. Murphy, and S.S. Jones (2012). Organic Wheat Breeding. In: Organic Crop Breeding, E.T. Lammerts van Bueren and J.R. Myers (eds.), Wiley-Blackwell.  Hoboken, New Jersey, USA.  ISBN: 978-0-470-95858-2.

Jakumar, N., S. Snapp, S., K. Murphy, and S.S. Jones (2012). Agronomic assessment of perennial wheat and perennial rye as cereal crops. Agronomy Journal 104: 1716-1726.

Hayes, R.C., M.T. Newell, L.R. DeHaan, K. Murphy, S. Crane, M.R. Norton, L.J. Wade, M. Newberry, M. Fahim, S.S. Jones, T.S. Cox, and P.J. Larkin (2012). Perennial cereal crops: An initial evaluation of wheat derivatives. Field Crops Research 133: 68-89.

Murphy, K., L.A. Hoagland, L. Yan, M. Colley, and S.S. Jones (2011). Genotype × environment interactions for mineral concentration in grain of organically grown spring wheat. Agronomy Journal 103: 1734-1741.

Döring, T.F., S. Knapp, G. Kovacs, K. Murphy, and M.S. Wolfe (2011). Evolutionary plant breeding in cereals – Into a new era.  Sustainability 3: 1944-1971.

Turner, S.F., C.A. Benedict, H. Darby, L. Hoagland, P. Simonson, J.R. Sirrine, and K. Murphy (2011). Challenges and opportunities for organic hop production in the United States. Agronomy Journal 103: 1645-1654.

Dawson, J.C., K. Murphy, D.R. Huggins, and S.S. Jones (2011). Evaluation of winter wheat breeding lines for traits related to nitrogen use under organic management. Organic Agriculture 1: 65-80.

Matanguihan, G.J.B., K. Murphy, and S.S. Jones (2011). Control of common bunt in organic wheat. Plant Disease  95: 92-103.

Lammerts van Bueren, E.T., S.S. Jones, L. Tamm, K. Murphy, J.R. Myers, C. Leifert, and M.M. Messmer (2011). The need to breed crop varieties suitable for organic farming using wheat, tomato and broccoli as examples: A review. NJAS – Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences 58: 193-205.

Murphy, K., S.R. Lyon, K.A. Balow, and S.S. Jones (2010). Post-sexual cycle regrowth and grain yield in Thinopyrum elongatum x Triticum aestivum amphiploids. Plant Breeding 129: 480-483.

Jones, S.S., S.R. Lyon, K.A. Balow, M.A. Gollnick, K. Murphy, J. Kuehner, X.M. Chen, T.D. Murray, D.A. Engle, and K.G. Campbell (2010). Registration of ‘Xerpha’ wheat. Journal of Plant Registrations 4:137-140.

More publications (pdf)

Quinoa book
Quinoa: Improvement and Sustainable Production

Kevin Murphy (Editor), Janet Matanguihan (Editor)

Quinoa is an ancient grain that has grown in popularity in recent years. It has been known as a good source of both protein and fiber. As the demand for quinoa increases a comprehensive and up-to-date reference on the biology and production of the crop is essential. Quinoa: Improvement and Sustainable Production brings together authors from around the world to provide a complete assessment of the current state of global quinoa research and production. Topics covered include quinoa history and culture, genomics and breeding, agronomy, nutrition, marketing, and end-uses. The book focuses in particular on the emerging role of quinoa in providing increased food security to smallholder farmers and communities throughout the world.
Quinoa will interest quinoa researchers, producers, crop scientists, agronomists, and plant geneticists, as well as advanced students working with this important grain.

New York Times: 5 Things to Know About Quinoa

This week, a new food is appearing on Passover tables around the country. The Orthodox Union, the authority on kosher foods, recently ruled that certain brands of quinoa could carry its “Kosher for Passover” symbol. Read more

LA Times: Foundation grants first fellowships in organic plant breeding in U.S.

Clif Bar Family Foundation has recently awarded the first fellowships in organic plant breeding in the United States. Read more

‘NPR, The Salt’
Can Quinoa Farming Go Global Without Leaving Andeans Behind?

Will Quinoa be the new corn . . . that might be a stretch  . . . listen to this story

WSU releases new barley variety honoring longtime plant breeder Steve Lyon

Lyon-barley-variety-photoMOUNT VERNON, Wash. – After more than 22 years of breeding wheat for Washington State University, Steve Lyon never expected to make a name for himself in the barley field. But this spring’s release of ‘Lyon,’ a new variety of barley, is one way his colleagues in Pullman have chosen to recognize his long-term contributions to small grains research.

“As a graduate student in Stephen Jones’ winter wheat program, I worked with Steve Lyon on a daily basis,” said WSU barley breeder Kevin Murphy . .  . Read more

Research cultivates seeds of opportunity

quinoa-varieties-200PULLMAN, Wash. – The grain-like seed crop quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) has grown in popularity and likely will be grown more widely in the Pacific Northwest, thanks to a $1.6 million U.S. Department of Agriculture grant recently awarded to Washington State University researchers. . .   Traditional quinoa producing countries like Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador and Peru are not keeping up with U.S. demand, said Kevin Murphy, lead scientist and plant breeder for the WSU project.

Western innovator: Researcher shines light on quinoa

PULLMAN, Wash.–Every week, Kevin Murphy gets e-mails from farmers interested in growing quinoa.

There isn’t enough seed available, so Murphy intends to grow more of the popular specialty crop next spring on a half-dozen farms in Washington and Oregon.

Quinoa will never rival wheat’s overall popularity, Murphy said, but it has the potential to become an important specialty crop for the Northwest.

New WSU feed barley has disease resistance package (Muir)
Washington barley growers will have another new variety to consider next spring.

Muir is a spring, two-row feed barley developed by Washington State University barley breeder Kevin Murphy in Pullman, Washington.  Read more

Grant Awarded to Research Organic Hop Production

Kevin Murphy was awarded $410,000 from the USDA-Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative for a project entitled: “Plant breeding and agronomic research for organic hop production systems”. Co-PI’s from WSU include Stephen Jones, Lori Hoagland and Scot Hulbert. This is a multi-state project that includes researchers and farmers from Michigan, Colorado and Vermont in addition to Washington.  Read more

A Perennial Search for Perfect Wheat

This WSU breeding team’s pursuit of a wheat variety that sprouts year – after –  year instead of dying after producing seed was featured in the science section of the New York Times.

Dept. of Crop and Soil Sciences, PO Box 646420, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-6420, 509-335-3475, Contact Us
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