Mycorrhizas in sustainable agriculture

Overview

Many key crop species have been shown to be able to form mutualistic symbioses with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. This is leading to the development of novel approaches in crop breeding and agricultural practices, encouraging the formation of mycorrhizal associations and utilisation of previously plant-inaccessible phosphorus pools. Fundamental research on various wild plant species has shown that the efficiency by which plant-fixed carbon is exchanged for fungal-acquired nutrients is affected by environmental perturbations, such as CO­2 concentration. By using combined ecophysiology, metabolomics and isotope tracer techniques, our research aims to expand our understanding of crop-mycorrhiza-environment interactions with important applications in sustainable agriculture.

Current projects

  • Interactions between crops, arbuscular mycorrhizas and CO­2, BBSRC Translational Fellowship (2016-2021), Tom Thirkell, Daria PastokJosie Driver, Matthew Campbell
  • Climate change impacts on interactions between crops, insects and mycorrhizal fungi, NERC PhD Studentship (2016-2020), Michael Charters
  • Responses of crops to changes in CO­2 and arbuscular mycorrhizal inoculum, White Rose PhD Studentship (2016-2020), Ashleigh Elliott
  • Root-rhizosphere interactions, BBSRC PhD Studentship (2017-2022), Jumana Akhtar