This seminar will follow three themes: 1) characterising the nitrate uptake system in cereals in relation to improving nitrogen uptake efficiency; 2) phenotyping nitrogen use efficiency in cereals; and 3) phenotyping infrastructure at the Australian Plant Phenomics Facility.
Nitrogen uptake: Improved nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) in crop plants has the potential to significantly reduce fertilizer application costs and increase crop yield. Nitrate (NO3-) is the predominant form of inorganic nitrogen (N) accessed by crop plants in an agricultural system. To understand how to modify crop plants to maximise N uptake we used flux analysis, transcriptomics and metabolomics to characterise the response of maize to low N.
Phenotyping NUE: To be able to select germplasm with enhanced NUE it is important to develop efficient and robust screening methods for enhanced NUE. NUE is a complex, multi-component trait and screening for NUE in field trials poses the challenge of low heritability and high environmental interaction. We used the Plant Accelerator high throughput phenotyping platform to characterise the nitrogen response of wheat varieties. Water stress early in the season and at flowering was incorporated with the aim of better understanding the interaction between these two important factors restricting grain yields.
Phenotyping infrastructure: The Australian Plant Phenomics Facility is a national facility, available to all Australian plant scientists, offering access to phenotyping infrastructure that is not available at this scale or breadth in the public sector anywhere else in the world. The APPF offers various platforms, from controlled environment to field phenotyping and has introduced several funding schemes to facilitate access of high-quality projects.
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