Kevin Murphy

Kevin Murphy

Professor of International Seed and Cropping Systems 509-335-9692 ITB 3045 PO Box 646420, Pullman, WA 99164


  • Ph.D., Plant Breeding and Genetics, Washington State University
  • M.A., Anthropology, University of Idaho
  • M.S., Crop Science, Washington State University
  • B.A., Biology, Colorado College


Current Courses

  • AFS/Soils 302: Introduction to Agroecology

Past Courses

  • AFS 201: Systems Skills Development for Agriculture and Food Systems
  • Crops 497/499/512: Neotropical Agroecology and Participatory Research: Ecuador
  • AFS 445/545: Field Analysis of Sustainable Food Systems


I lead the specialty crop breeding and agronomy 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 implementation of ecologically-rooted production practices. Internationally, we conduct participatory breeding and agronomic research on quinoa, barley, and millets in Rwanda, Malawi, and Ecuador. Our group focuses on breeding and/or cropping systems research in quinoa, barley, spelt, buckwheat, perennial grains, and proso millet. We emphasize crops, varieties, and/or farming systems that optimize nutritional value and provide tolerance to heat, drought, and diseases while improving yield, flavor and end-use quality. Our cropping systems research has included studies on intercropping, cover crops, crop rotation effects, no-till farming, crop-livestock integration, and optimal planting dates and nitrogen, irrigation and seeding rates.


  • Crop Science Society of America, Division C-9 ‘Biomedical, Health Beneficial, and Nutritionally Enhanced Plants’ Chair 2019
  • Global Rice Research Foundation, Board of Trustees, 2014-present; Chair 2022-2023
  • Open Source Seed Initiative, Board of Directors, 2019-2022
  • Sustainability journal, Associate Editor, 2014-present
  • Journal of Sustainable Food Systems, Associate Editor, Nutrition & Sustainable Diets Section, 2021-present
  • Member, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee 2022-present

Recent Awards and Honors

  • Fulbright Global Scholar, Ecuador 2019-2020 and Malawi 2022
  • Fulbright Specialists Fellow, Malawi, 2017
  • 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 Award, 2014
  • Fulbright Specialists Fellow, Philippines, 2013


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

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 4:137-140IF=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.

Extension Publications

Bramwell, S., B. Brouwer, C. Mundt, A. Hulting, P. Hayes, K. Murphy, B. Meints, A. MacLeod, D. Carrijo, C. Waite, S. Fisk, B. Verhoeven (2021). Growing winter malting barley west of the Cascades. Washington State University Extension FS356E.

Weime, R., J. Reganold, D. Packer, K. Murphy (2021). Growing quinoa in Washington State. Washington State University Extension FS355E.

Kellogg, J., K. Murphy (2017). Growing quinoa in home gardens. Washington State University Extension, Home Gardening Series FS258E.

Winkler, L., K. Murphy (2017). Producing milling oats in western Washington: Guide to grain quality optimization and marketing. Washington State University Extension EM109E.

Miles, C., J. Roozen, S. S. Jones, K. Murphy, and X. Chen. (2009). Growing wheat in western Washington. Washington State University Extension EM022E.

Recent Publications (past 5 years)

For a full list of Publications, see Google Scholar

Craine, E., H. Choi, K. Schroeder, R.S. Brueggeman, A.D. Esser, K. Murphy (2023). Spring barley malt quality in eastern Washington and northern Idaho. Crop Science 63: 1148-1168.

Craine, E., A. Davies, D. Packer, N.D. Miller, S.M. Schmöckel, E.P. Spaulding, M. Tester, K. Murphy (2023). A comprehensive characterization of agronomic and end-use quality phenotypes across a quinoa world core collection. Frontiers in Plant Science 14: 1101547.

Bitar-Nalbandian, E., E. Pietrysiak, K. Murphy, and G.M. Ganjyal (2022). Different breeding lines of quinoa significantly influence the quality of the baked cookies and cooked grains. Journal of Food Science 12: 5225-5239.

Kellogg, J.A., E.F. Klarquist, A.D. Waziri, D. Luftig, F. Carbonero, P. Solverson, M. Perrigue, J. Walton, D. Aytekin, A. MacKenzie, K. Garland-Campbell, K. Murphy (2022). Developing a definition of biofortification through the synthesis of food biofortification publications: a scoping review protocol. JBI Evidence Synthesis 20: 1-7.

Tabatabaei, I., S. Alseekh, M. Shahid, E. Lenaik, M. Wagner, H. Mahmoudi, S. Thushar, A.R. Fernie, K. Murphy, S.M. Schmöckel, M. Tester, B. Mueller-Roeber, A. Skirycz, S. Balazadeh (2022). The diversity of quinoa morphological traits and seed metabolic composition. Scientific Data 9: 323.

Habiyaremye, C., O. Ndayiramije, J. d’Alpoim Guedes, E. Birachi, K. Murphy (2022). Assessing the adaptability of quinoa and millet in two agroecological zones of Rwanda. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems 6: 850280.

Craine, E.B., S. Bramwell, C.F. Ross, K. Murphy (2022). From ground to glass: Evaluation of unique barley varieties for craft malting, craft brewing, and consumer sensory. Beverages 8: 30.

Stanschewski, C.S., E. Rey, G. Fiene, E. Craine, G. Wellman, V. Melino, D.S.R. Patiranage, K. Johansen, S.M. Schmöckel, D. Bertero, H. Oakey, C. Colque-Little, I. Afzal, S. Raubach, N. Miller, J. Streich, D. Buchvaldt Amby, M. Warmington, M.A.A. Mousa, D. Wu, D. Jacobson, C. Andreasen, C. Jung, K. Murphy, D. Bazile, M. Tester (2021). Quinoa phenotyping methodologies: An international consensus. Plants 10: 1759.

Oeller, E., R. Clark, L. Hinojosa, K. Murphy, D. Crowder (2021). Effects of agronomic practices on Lygus spp. (Hemipera: Miridae) population dynamics in quinoa. Environmental Entomology 50: 852-859.

Craine, E., S. Bramwell, C.F. Ross, S. Fisk, K. Murphy (2021). Strategic malting barley improvement for craft brewers through consumer sensory evaluation of hot steep malt and beer. Journal of Food Science 86: 3628-3644.

Little, A., K. Murphy, P. Solverson (2021). Quinoa’s potential to enhance dietary management of obesity and type-2 diabetes: a review of the current evidence. Diabetology 2: 77-94.

Habiyaremye, C., K.L. Schroeder, J.P. Reganold, D. White, D. Packer, K. Murphy (2021). Effect of nitrogen and seeding rate on yield, protein, and β-glucan of naked food barley in no-till cropping systems in the Palouse. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems 5: 663445.

McGinty, E.M., K. Murphy, A.L. Hauvermale (2021). Evaluating the mechanisms of seed dormancy and preharvest sprouting (PHS) in quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.). Plants 10: 458.

Hinojosa, L., A. Leguizamo, M. Vivar, C. Carpio, C. Mestanza, J. Ochoa, C. Castillo, A. Murillo, E. Villacréz, C. Monar, A. Torres, N. Pichazaca, K. Murphy (2021). Quinoa in Ecuador: Recent advances under quinoa global expansion. Plants 10: 298.

Kellogg, J.A., J.P. Reganold, K. Murphy, L.A. Carpenter-Boggs (2021). A plant-fungus bioassay supports the classification of quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) as inconsistently mycorrhizal. Microbial Ecology 82: 135-144.

Gill, K., N. Kumar, H. Randhawa, K. Murphy, A. Carter, C. Morris, R. Higginbotham, D. Engle, S. Guy, D. Lyon, T. Murray, X. Chen, W. Schillinger (2021). Registration of ‘Resilience CL+’ soft white winter wheat. Journal of Plant Registrations 15: 196-205.

Merrick, L.F., S.R. Lyon, K.A. Balow, K. Murphy, S.S. Jones, A.H. Carter (2020). Utilization of evolutionary plant breeding increases stability and adaptation of winter wheat across diverse precipitation zones. Sustainability 12: 9728.

Choi, H., A. Esser, K. Murphy (2020). Genotype × environment interaction and stability of β-glucan content in barley in the Palouse region of eastern Washington. Crop Science 60: 2500–2510.

Craine, E.B., K. Murphy (2020). Seed composition and amino acid profiles for quinoa grown in Washington State. Frontiers in Nutrition 7:126.

Wieme, R., J.P. Reganold, D. Crowder, K. Murphy, L. Carpenter-Boggs (2020). Productivity and soil quality of organic forage, quinoa, and grain cropping systems in the dryland Pacific Northwest, USA. Agriculture, Ecosystems, and Environment 293: 106838.

Eustis, A., K. Murphy, F.H. Barrios-Masias (2020). Leaf gas exchange performance of ten quinoa genotypes under a simulated heat wave. Plants 9: 81.

Wieme, R., L. Carpenter-Boggs, D. Crowder, K. Murphy, J.P. Reganold (2020). Agronomic and economic performance of organic forage, quinoa, and grain crop rotations in the Palouse region of the Pacific Northwest, USA. Agricultural Systems 177: 102709.

Hinojosa, L., M. Sanad, D. Jarvis, P. Steel, K. Murphy, A. Smertenko (2019). Impact of heat and drought stress on peroxisome proliferation in quinoa. The Plant Journal 99: 1144-1158.

Villacres, E., D. Campaña, J. Garófalo, E. Falconí, J. Matanguihan, K. Murphy (2019). Evaluation of β-glucan content, viscosity, soluble dietary fiber and processing effect in grains of Ecuadorian barley genotypes. Agronomia Colombiana 37: 323-330.

Hinojosa, L., N. Kumar, K.S. Gill, K. Murphy (2019). Spectral reflectance indices and physiological parameters in quinoa under contrasting irrigation regimes. Crop Science 59: 1927-1944.

Ludvigson, K., J.P. Reganold, K. Murphy (2019). Sustainable intensification of quinoa in peri-urban environments in western Washington state utilizing transplant vs. direct-seed methods. Ciencia e Investigacion Agraria 46: 100-112.

Gardner, M., M.F.A. Maliro, J.R. Goldberger, K. Murphy (2019). Assessing the potential adoption of quinoa for human consumption in central Malawi. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems 3: 52.

Sankaran, S., C. Zuniga Espinoza, L. Hinojosa, X. Ma, K. Murphy (2019). High-throughput phenotyping to assess irrigation treatment effects in quinoa. Agrosystems, Gosciences & Environment 2: 180063.

Noratto, G.D., K. Murphy, B.P. Chew (2019). Quinoa intake reduces plasma and liver cholesterol, lessens obesity-associated inflammation, and helps to prevent hepatic steatosis in obese db/db mouse. Food Chemistry 287: 107-114.

Baidoo, E., K. Murphy, G. Ganjyal (2019). Hulled varieties of barley showed better expansion characteristics compared to hull-less varieties during twin-screw extrusion. Cereal Chemistry 96: 391-404.

Clark, I., S.S. Jones, J.P. Reganold, K.A. Sanguinet, K. Murphy (2019). Agronomic performance of perennial grain genotypes in the Palouse region of the Pacific Northwest, USA. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems 3: 39.

Milosavliević, I., A.D. Esser, K. Murphy, D.W. Crowder (2019). Effects of imidacloprid seed treatments on crop yields and economic returns of cereal crops. Crop Protection 119: 166-171.

Hinojosa, L., J. Matanguihan, K. Murphy (2019). Effect of high temperature on pollen morphology, plant growth and seed yield in quinoa. Journal of Agronomy and Crop Science 205: 33-45.


Kevin Murphy News Articles

Cross-college major bridges agriculture and human health

Students will study the connection from fields to dinner plates to human health in the new Human Nutrition and Food Systems major at Washington State University.

Available this fall, the new joint degree from WSU’s College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS) and the Elson Floyd College of Medicine helps students learn how food systems and agriculture can benefit health.

“This is a broad major geared toward training students to become well-versed in different skills that span agriculture and nutrition,” said Kevin Murphy, a professor in WSU’s Department of Crop and Soil Sciences (CSS) and one of the developers of the new major. “We’re seeing a lot of students that are interested in human health and how it ties in to agriculture.”

WSU, BYU release three new quinoa varieties bred for global food security, nutrition

PULLMAN, Wash. — Passed from grower to grower, three new quinoa varieties co-developed at Washington State University are helping farmers in Rwanda and other African countries improve nutrition and food security.

Scientists at WSU and Brigham Young University today announced the release of Cougar, Shisha, and Gikungu, new varieties of quinoa, a seed crop rich in B vitamins, minerals, and fiber and one of the few plant sources of complete protein.

“These three are the best of the thousand lines shared with us by our colleagues at BYU,” said Kevin Murphy, director of WSU’s Sustainable Seed Systems Lab.

WSU awarded $10 million to increase nutrition in food crops

PULLMAN, Wash. –  An approach that promises to increase nutrition literally from the ground up, Washington State University’s Soil to Society project, recently received a five-year, $10 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

The project takes a comprehensive approach to increase the nutrient value in food made from six crops – wheat, barley, peas, lentils, buckwheat, and quinoa. Soil scientists will work to improve the soil quality where they are grown. Plant breeders will develop more nutritional varieties while food scientists will create products to bring to market, and health researchers will evaluate the impact of those foods.

The ultimate goal is to improve human health by increasing consumption of more nutritious, whole grain-based foods, said Kevin Murphy, program director and WSU associate professor in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences.

FFAR Seeding Solutions Grant to Improve Nutrition in Quinoa

PULLMAN (March 2, 2021)— Quinoa, a crop known for its protein quality and nutritional content, is widely consumed in the US. Despite its popularity, quinoa is still underutilized because it is imported, even though nutritious, high-quality varieties can grow and thrive in this country. The Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) awarded a $1 million Seeding Solutions grant to Washington State University (WSU) to continue research for their Enhancing Human Health project that is identifying opportunities to improve the nutritional content of various crop varieties. This research is focusing specifically on quinoa and quinoa-based food products. Lundberg Family Farms and WSU provided matching funds and Ardent MillsBrabender CWB and Seattle Food Tech/Rebellyous Foods provided additional support for a total $2,044,872 research investment.

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.

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

Will Quinoa be the new corn . . . that might be a stretch  . . .

WSU releases new barley variety honoring longtime plant breeder Steve Lyon

MOUNT 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.

Research cultivates seeds of opportunity

PULLMAN, 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.

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.