CV page

Li-Hua Zhu

Li-Hua Zhu
I am Professor in plant breeding, specializing in plant biotechnology and have been working with a number of plant species including fruit trees, oilseed crops and cereals. I am currently leading a research group of 10 persons including researchers, postdocs, PhD students and research engineer/assistants.


I am currently the vice Program Leader for C4F (Crops for the Future, part of Trees and Crops for the Future, a strategic research area funded by the Swedish government), PI and co-PI in two projects supported by Swedish Strategic Research Foundation (SSF), and the coordinator of the research project supported by SLU Grogrund, Centre for Breeding of Food Crops, PI or co-PI on several projects supported by Swedish research foundation FORMAS.


I am currently assistant head of the department responsible for graduate education. I have been involved in teaching in plant biotechnology, plant breeding, plant physiology, plant molecular biology and responsible for a couple of courses at different levels.  


My major research interest has been using modern breeding technologies, mainly genetic engineering for improving important plant properties, such as disease or insect resistance, rooting, plant size control, oil quality and quantity and seedcake quality for food, feed and industrial applications. More recently we have shifted from using traditional genetic transformation techniques to the genome editing CRISPR/Cas9 technique with focus on oilseed crops, field cress (Lepidium campestre) and rapeseed, as well as barley. We have very recently developed relatively simple protoplast regeneration protocols for oilseed species, which would facilitate generation of mutation lines with no external DNA integration. Very recently, we have established a plant expression system using recombinant technology for producing plant-based proteins, which could be used for potential pharmaceutical, food and other applications.

Selected publications

Kim, S.-Y., Bengtsson, T., Olsson, N., Hot, V., Zhu, L.-Z., and Åhman, I. 2020. Mutations in two β-1,3-glucanase genes by CRISPR/Cas9 do not increase barley resistance to Rhopalosiphum padi. Front. Plant Sci. accepted

Carlsson M. L. R., Kanagarajan S., Bülow L., and Zhu L.-H. 2020. Plant based production of myoglobin - a novel source of the muscle heme-protein. Sci. Rep. 10:920. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-57565-y

Åhman I, Kim S-Y and Zhu L-H. 2019. Plant Genes Benefitting Aphids—Potential for Exploitation in Resistance Breeding. Front. Plant Sci. 10:1452. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2019.01452

Li X., Guan R., Fan J. and Zhu L.-H. 2019. Development of Industrial Oil Crop Crambe abyssinica for Wax Ester Production through Metabolic Engineering and Cross Breeding. Plant and Cell Physiology. 60 (6): 1274-1283.

Ivarson E., Iven T., Sturtevant D., Ahlman A., Cai Y., Chapman K., Feussner I. and Zhu L.-H. 2017. Production of wax esters in the wild oil species Lepidium campestre. Industrial Crops & Products 108 : 535–542. 

Ivarson E., Leiva-Eriksson N., Ahlman A., Kanagarajan S., Bülow L. and Zhu L-H. 2017. Effects of overexpression of WRI1 and hemoglobin genes on the seed oil content of Lepidium campestre. Front. Plant. Sci.7:2032.

Ivarson E., Ahlman A., Lager I. and Zhu L-H. 2016. Significant increase of oleic acid level in the wild species Lepidium campestre through direct gene silencing. Plant Cell Reports. 35(10):2055-63. DOI 10.1007/s00299-016-2016-9.

Zhu L.H. et al. 2016. Dedicated industrial oilseed crops as metabolic engineering platforms for sustainable industrial feedstock production. Sci. Rep. 6:22181, DOI: 10.1038/srep22181.

Li X., Mei D., Liu Q., Fan J., Singh S., Green A., Zhou X-R. and Zhu L-H. 2015. Down-regulation of crambe fatty acid desaturase and elongase in Arabidopsis and crambe resulted in significantly increased oleic acid content in seed oil. Plant Biotechnology Journal pp. 1–9, doi: 10.1111/pbi.12386.

Nicolia A., Proux-Wéra E., Åhman I., Onkokesung N., Andersson M., Andreasson E. and Zhu L-H. 2015. Targeted gene mutation in tetraploid potato through transient TALENexpression in protoplasts. Journal of Biotechnology 204: 17–24.

Guan R., Li X., Hofvander P., Zhou X-R., Wang D., Stymne S. and Zhu L-H. 2014. RNAi targeting putative genes in phosphatidylcholine turnover results in significant change in fatty acid composition in Crambe abyssinica seed oil. Lipids (2015) 50:407–416.

Welander M., Persson J., Asp H. and Zhu L.H. 2014. Evaluation of a New Vessel System Based On Temporary Immersion System For Micropropagation. Sci. Hort. 179 (2014) 227–232.

Welander M., Geier T., Smolka A., Ahlman A., Fan J. and Zhu L.H. 2014. Origin, timing and gene expression of adventitious rooting in Arabidopsis hypocotyls and stems. American Journal of Botany 101(2): 255-66.

Ivarson E., Ahlman A., Li X.Y. and Zhu L.H. 2013. Development of an efficient regeneration and transformation method for the new potential oilseed crop Lepidium campestre. BMC Plant Biology 13:115 doi:10.1186/1471-2229-13-115.

Guan R., Lager I., Li XY., Stymne S. and Zhu L-H. 2013. Bottlenecks in erucic acid accumulation in genetically engineered ultra-high erucic acid Crambe abyssinica. Plant Biotech. J. 12(2): 193–203.

Li X.Y., Van Loo E.N., Gruber J., Fan J., Guan R., Frentzen M., Stymne S. and Zhu L-H. 2012. Development of ultra-high erucic acid oil in the industrial oil crop Crambe abyssinica. Plant Biotech. J.10 (7): 862-870

Li X.Y., Ahlman A. Lindgren H. and Zhu L.H. 2011. Highly efficient in vitro regeneration of the industrial oilseed crop Crambe abyssinica. Industrial Crops & Products, 33:170-175. DOI information: 10.1016/j.indcrop.2010.10.004

Smolka A. Li X.Y. Heikefelt C. Welander M. and Zhu L.H. 2010. Effects of transgenic rootstock on growth and development of non-transgenic scion cultivars in apple. Transgenic Research, 19 (6): 933-948. DOI:10.1007/s1248-010-9370-0.

Zhu, L.H., A. Holefors, A. Ahlman, Z.T. Xue and  M. Welander. 2001. Transformation of the apple rootstock M.9/29 with the rolB gene and its influence on rooting and growth. Plant Science 160 : 433-439.

Zhu, L.H. and M. Welander. 2000. Adventitious shoot regeneration of two dwarfing pear rootstocks and the development of a transformation protocol. Journal of Horticultural Science and Biotechnology 75 (6): 745-752.



Professor at the Institutionen för växtförädling
Telephone: +4640415373
Postal address:
Växtförädling, Box 190
234 22 LOMMA
Visiting address: Sundsvägen 10, Alnarp