Optimum use of nutrients by crops is essential for sustainable horticulture. The challenge to double food production by 2050 to meet the demand of the world’s growing population whilst minimizing the impact of the food chain becomes an ever-increasing priority. Fertilisers are costly to produce and apply, both economically and environmentally. There is a need to maximise efficiency using both agronomic and plant breeding approaches. Nutrient use efficiency depends not only on a plant’s ability to take up nutrients efficiently from the soil, but also on transport, storage, mobilisation, usage within the plant and environmental factors.
At EMR, we are working to understand plant nutrient needs at different developmental stages, optimising nutrition to match demand and supply, minimising leaching and improving nutrient use efficiency, exploiting the genetic variability in plant nutrient use efficiency and identifying the respective genes involved in nutrient uptake and utilisation.