31 March 2015 | Online since 2003



8 May 2014|Arable,Cereal,Crops,News

Collaborative roots could reduce reliance on phosphorus fertilisers


Farmers could improve the efficiency of phosphorus in crop production by coupling plants with complementary traits, which would allow them to harness the ‘phosphorus bank’ already present in soils.

Exploring the potential of ‘collaborative roots’ to make organic phosphorus available to plants is the objective of a new £1.2 million, three-year project undertaken by a scientific consortium including the James Hutton Institute, Rothamsted Research and led by Lancaster University.

Phosphorus is a non-renewable resource, essential for crop and food production. Due to inefficient use and limited global reserves, inorganic phosphorus fertilisers will become less economically viable and there are concerns about future supplies. Without action, this situation could undermine agricultural productivity.

A large proportion of phosphorus already present in soils is found in organic forms, which are generally unavailable to plants for two reasons: firstly organic phosphorus is often tightly bound to soil surfaces, and secondly, it must be transformed into inorganic compounds before it can be taken up by plants.

Dr Tim George, rhizosphere scientist at the James Hutton Institute and lead investigator on the project, said: “Some plants help mobilise organic phosphorus in soils by producing organic acids from their roots, whilst others exude enzymes that mineralise this phosphorus into forms available to plants.

“We are investigating bi-cropping systems that combine plants with these individual traits to determine if such systems can improve the utilisation of organic phosphorus and help transform organic phosphorus into a viable, sustainable nutrient source for agricultural production.

“Outputs from the project will have impact for many individuals involved in crop production from agricultural research scientists, fertiliser suppliers, crop breeders and land managers through to policy makers.

Professor Phil Haygarth of Lancaster University said: “By increasing the amount of phosphorus utilised from the ‘phosphorus bank’ stored in soils we can reduce the reliance on inorganic fertilisers, increasing agricultural sustainability and improving our ability to deliver food security in coming decades.

“It is exciting to be starting this collaborative project with such a strong team, we have potential to make a real difference to the future of food production.”

The results of the study could influence the way in which cropping systems are considered in the future both nationally and internationally, by providing fundamental science to support crop development, based on more than just yield and productivity, but also on the specific soil/plant processes involved.

Download



Comments


No comments posted yet. Be the first to post a comment

To post comment without approval login or register

Display name

Please enter your name

Email (optional)
Comment

Please enter your comment

Post Comment

Your comment submitted successfully.Please wait for admin approval.

Some error on your process.Please try one more time.



Jobs


12 March 2015
Retail Shop Apprentice
Bains Supersave Ltd sell a range of household groceries such as fresh fruit and vegetables, dairy items and frozen foods....

25 March 2015
Part Time Workshop Person
Applications in writing or email only to Roy Hiddleston – or post application to Solway Recycling Limited, Rigghead Farm, Sha...

24 March 2015
Cafe / Shop Assistant
Dean Court Farm Shop & Cafe is a successful farmhouse cafe and shop in Buckfastleigh who need an additional employee to j...

10 March 2015
Scientific lab sales - Northern England
This role is to increase sales of a wide portfolio of laboratory products to a variety of customers including petro-chemical,...

12 March 2015
Learning Coaches
BCA has established an excellent reputation for the range and quality of its provision. The College is committed to supportin...




Top stories you may have missed
23 March 2015 | Cattle

UK butchers face difficulties to recruit...

Butchers in the UK are losing a generation through lack of training opportu...


20 March 2015 | Arable

Dust - the secret fertiliser?

NASA research has revealed how dust blown from the Sahara desert helps supp...


19 March 2015 | Arable

The Budget 2015: A Farmer's Budget?

“In the run up to the Budget 2015 most commentators were predicting that th...


17 March 2015 | News

UK's first floating solar power system l...

The UK’s first fully operational floating solar panel system has been unvei...


13 March 2015 | Animal Health

Labour and Conservatives clash over badg...

Axing the badger cull in England and Wales will save more than £120 million...


12 March 2015 | News

Solar could be cheapest energy source by...

By 2025, solar power could become one of the cheapest forms of energy in ma...


11 March 2015 | Finance

English buyers turn their attention to S...

Demand for Scottish farm land remains strong and continues to be better val...


9 March 2015 | Cattle

2020 vision for the Welsh red meat indus...

The Welsh red meat industry should aim to increase sales by at least 34 per...


6 March 2015 | News

MP raises egg industry concerns on trans...

Fears about the impact that a proposed transatlantic trade agreement could ...


Stay safe and legal when flying drones

The use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Unmanned Aircraft Systems - or dron...