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Achieving sustainable productivity in agriculture through beneficial microbial associations.

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The availability of nitrogen and phosphorus is a major limitation to crop productivity and this is currently addressed primarily through application of inorganic fertilisers to augment these limiting nutrients. Use of such fertilisers contributes the greatest cause of pollution from agriculture in high and middle-income countries, while access to inorganic fertilisers is extremely limited for farmers in low-income countries. In natural ecosystems many species of plants acquire nitrogen and phosphorus through associations with beneficial fungi and bacteria, but the use of these beneficial microbial associations is currently very limited in agriculture. Through a detailed understanding of how plants associate with beneficial microorganisms, we are attempting to broaden their use in agriculture to facilitate sustainable productivity, accessible to all of the world’s farmers.

This talk is part of the Cambridge Society for the Application of Research (CSAR) series.

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