Achieving sustainable productivity in agriculture through beneficial microbial associations.

Reducing inorganic fertilizer use in agriculture.

  • Mon 7th Feb 2022

The availability of nitrogen and phosphorus is a major limitation to crop productivity and this is currently addressed primarily through application of inorganic fertilisers to augment these limiting nutrients. Use of such fertilisers contributes the greatest cause of pollution from agriculture in high and middle-income countries, while access to inorganic fertilisers is extremely limited for farmers in low-income countries. In natural ecosystems many species of plants acquire nitrogen and phosphorus through associations with beneficial fungi and bacteria, but the use of these beneficial microbial associations is currently very limited in agriculture. Through a detailed understanding of how plants associate with beneficial microorganisms, we are attempting to broaden their use in agriculture to facilitate sustainable productivity, accessible to all of the world’s farmers.

Professor Giles E. D. Oldroyd, FRS, Crop Science Centre, University of Cambridge, 93 Lawrence Weaver Way, Cambridge, UK

A long-term aim of Giles's research is to reduce agricultural reliance on inorganic fertilisers and he currently heads an international programme funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office to engineer nitrogen-fixing cereals.

He completed his PhD in 1998 at the University of California, Berkeley, studying plant-pathogen interactions and then moved to Stanford University, USA, to work on nitrogen fixation in the laboratory of Prof. Sharon Long. After working 15 years as a group leader at the John Innes Centre in the UK, he moved to the University of Cambridge in 2017 and in 2019 was elected the Russell R. Geiger Professor of Crop Sciences. In this role he directs the Crop Science Centre, an alliance between the University of Cambridge and the National Institute of Agricultural Botany, focused on recognising agricultural impact from fundamental discoveries in plant sciences. In 2020 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society and a member of EMBO and in 2021 he was elected foreign membership of the National Academy of Sciences, USA.

Attending lectures

The lecture will be preceded by a short presentation from a CSAR PhD Award Winner.

Nanoscale structure and its implications for performance and stability in halide perovskites

Tiarnan Doherty, Department of Physics

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