The Energy and Resources Institute,
New Delhi, India
Nitrogen is the major limiting nutrient for plant growth and development. Efficient acquisition and assimilation of nitrogen is critical for crop production. In order to meet this requirement, the conventional agriculture practices make use of synthetic nitrogenous fertilizers to support high crop yields. Legumes have an advantage that they can form symbiosis with rhizobia and obtain nitrogen though biological nitrogen fixation (BNF). On the other hand, most agricultural plants, including rice, lack this ability and, hence, there has been a long standing interest in transferring BNF ability into this cereal crop plant to make it independent of added synthetic nitrogenous fertilizer. In alignment with this goal, our group is involved in exploring opportunities for supplementing nitrogen through BNF in rice, particularly via genetic enhancement of rice plants to support beneficial associations with nitrogen-fixing bacteria. In the present IUNFC project, our group will mainly concentrate on studying the influence of diverse rice genotypes and their root exuded signals, particularly dicarboxylates, in regulating structure/diversity and function of microbiome in rhizosphere and endosphere zones and in promoting microbiome interactions with rice roots, impact on nitrogen fixation, overall plant growth/development and yield.