Kevin Murphy

faculty page photo

Associate 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

AFS 201: Systems Skills Development for Agriculture and Food Systems
AFS 302: Introduction to Agroecology
Crops 497/499/512: Neotropical Agroecology and Participatory Research: Ecuador

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
Jarvis, D.E., Y.S. Ho, D.J. Lightfoot, S.M. Schmöckel, B. Li, T. Borm, H. Ohyanagi, K. Mineta, C.T. Michell, N. Saber, N.M. Kharbatia, R.R. Rupper, A.R. Sharp, N. Dally, B. Boughton, Y.H. Woo, G. Gao, E. Schijlen, X. Guo, A.A. Momin, S. Negrão, S. Al-Babili, C. Gehring, U. Rӧssner, C. Jung, K. Murphy, S. Arold, T. Gojobori, G. van der Linden, R. van Loo, E.N. Jellen, P.J. Maughan, and M. Tester (2017). The genome of Chenopodium quinoa and regulation of saponin biosynthesis. Nature (accepted, in press).

Murphy, K. (2017). A quiet harvest: Linkage between ritual, seed selection and the historical use of the finger-bladed knife as a traditional plant breeding tool in Ifugao, Philippines. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 13:3.

Habiyaremye, C., J.B. Matanguihan, J. d’Alpoim Guedes, G.M. Ganjyal, M.R. Whiteman, K.K. Kidwell, and K. Murphy (2017). Proso millet (Panicum miliaceum L.) and its potential for cultivation in the Pacific Northwest, U.S.: A review. Frontiers in Plant Science 7:1961.

Curwen-McAdams, C., M. Arterburn, K. Murphy, X. Cai, and S.S. Jones (2016). Toward a taxonomic definition of perennial wheat: A new species × Tritipyrum aaseae described. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution (published online 04 November 2016).

Aluwi, N., B-J. Gu, G. Dhumal, I.G. Medina-Meza, K. Murphy, and G. Ganjyal (2016). Impacts of scarification and degermination on the expansion characteristics of select quinoa varieties during extrusion processing. Journal of Food Science 81: E2939-E2949.

Winkler, L., K. Murphy, and S.S. Jones (2016). The history of oats in western Washington and the role of regionality in agriculture. Journal of Rural Studies 47: 231-241.

Walters, H., L. Carpenter-Boggs, K. Desta, L. Yan, G.J. Matanguihan, and K. Murphy (2016). Effect of irrigation, intercrop and cultivar on agronomic and nutritional characteristics of quinoa. Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems 40: 783-803.

Murphy, K., D. Bazile, J. Kellogg, and M. Rahmanian (2016). Development of a worldwide consortium on evolutionary participatory breeding in quinoa. Frontiers in Plant Science 7: 608.

Brouwer, B.O., P.B. Schwarz, J.M. Barr, P.M. Hayes, K. Murphy, and S.S. Jones (2016). Evaluating barley for the emerging craft malting industry in western Washington. Agronomy Journal 108: 1-11.

Wu, G., A.J. Peterson, C.F. Morris, and K. Murphy (2016). Quinoa seed quality response to sodium chloride and sodium sulfate salinity. Frontiers in Plant Science 7: 790.

Kowalski, R.J., I.G. Medina-Meza, B.B. Thapa, K. Murphy, and G.M. Ganjyal (2016). Extrusion processing characteristics of quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) var. Cherry Vanilla. Journal of Cereal Science 70: 91-98.

Vico, G., S. Manzoni, L. Nkurunziza, K. Murphy, and M. Weih (2016). Trade-offs between seed output and life span – a quantitative comparison of traits between annual and perennial congeneric species. New Phytologist 209: 104-114.

Brouwer, B.O., K. Murphy, and S.S. Jones (2016). 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 31: 172-184.

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

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

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.

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.

More publications (pdf)

Recent Awards and Honors
Faculty of the Year Award, WSU CAHNRS Alumni and Development, 2016
Early Career Excellence Award, WSU CAHNRS, 2016
Team Leader, WSU CAHNRS Interdisciplinary Research Team Award, Team Quinoa, 2015
WSU Innovator of the Year Award, 2014
Fulbright Specialists Fellow, 2013

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. Read more.

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.