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The value of biodiversity in legume symbiotic nitrogen fixation and nodulation for biofuel and food production

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Peter M Gresshoff
  • ,
  • Satomi Hayashi, Unknown
  • Bandana Biswas, Unknown
  • Saeid Mirzaei, Unknown
  • Arief Indrasumunar, Unknown
  • Dugald Reid
  • Sharon Samuel, Unknown
  • Alina Tollenaere, Unknown
  • Bethany van Hameren, Unknown
  • April Hastwell
  • ,
  • Paul Scott, Unknown
  • Brett J Ferguson

Much of modern agriculture is based on immense populations of genetically identical or near-identical varieties, called cultivars. However, advancement of knowledge, and thus experimental utility, is found through biodiversity, whether naturally-found or induced by the experimenter. Globally we are confronted by ever-growing food and energy challenges. Here we demonstrate how such biodiversity from the food legume crop soybean (Glycine max L. Merr) and the bioenergy legume tree Pongamia (Millettia) pinnata is a great value. Legume plants are diverse and are represented by over 18,000 species on this planet. Some, such as soybean, pea and medics are used as food and animal feed crops. Others serve as ornamental (e.g., wisteria), timber (e.g., acacia/wattle) or biofuel (e.g., Pongamia pinnata) resources. Most legumes develop root organs (nodules) after microsymbiont induction that serve as their habitat for biological nitrogen fixation. Through this, nitrogen fertiliser demand is reduced by the efficient symbiosis between soil Rhizobium-type bacteria and the appropriate legume partner. Mechanistic research into the genetics, biochemistry and physiology of legumes is thus strategically essential for future global agriculture. Here we demonstrate how molecular plant science analysis of the genetics of an established food crop (soybean) and an emerging biofuel P. pinnata feedstock contributes to their utility by sustainable production aided by symbiotic nitrogen fixation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Plant Physiology
Volume172
Pages (from-to)128-36
Number of pages9
ISSN0176-1617
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes

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