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Researchers benefit from plant nutrition training

Young researchers in the field of plant biology have received state-of-the-art practical training in the genetic control of plant nutrition.
Researchers benefit from plant nutrition training
By optimising agricultural outputs, researchers may begin to address the challenge of global food security. As such, they are keen to understand the genetic control mechanisms behind plant nutrition and productivity.

The EU-funded BIONUT (Biochemical and genetic dissection of control of plant mineral nutrition) project contributed to this by providing young researchers with state-of-the-art, interdisciplinary training. The training focused on rice and wheat genetics research.

Eight early-stage researchers and two experienced researchers were selected for training. The younger scientists were busy with their PhDs, and acquired skills in biochemical and genetic research techniques, as well as in field agronomy. They gained experience in both academic and industrial environments.

The students identified a number of genes that may be involved in nutrient use efficiency. They also assessed natural variations in the plants' responses to nutrient deficiency, which may help to identify other potentially relevant genes.

Other research focused on identifying new genes linked to sulfur and molybdenum use, as well as identifying markers of deficiency. The BIONUT Initial Training Network (ITN) also described gene transcription networks to find new gene targets for crop improvements.

As part of their training, the researchers attended technical courses in plant genetics and biochemistry, and sharpened their presentation and communication skills. They also learned about intellectual property management and took part in an international scientific meeting at the start of their assignments.

The complementary, interdisciplinary BIONUT ITN approach will help close the gap between biologists in the field of plant nutrition and end users. Ultimately, agroindustry, breeders and farmers will benefit, and the career prospects of the trainees will be enhanced.

Related information

Keywords

Plant nutrition, genetic control, biochemical, mineral nutrition, agronomy
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