Nitrogen fertiliser use in agriculture is inefficient, costly and often environmentally damaging. Legume crops are an economically and environmentally sound alternative, as their relationship with nitrogen-fixing soil bacteria enables them to thrive in the absence of nitrogen fertiliser. The bacteria (commonly referred to as rhizobia) are housed in specialised root organs, called nodules. Identifying critical components in the development and control of legume nodules is now needed to optimise the process and improve agriculture sustainability.

Projects include those that aim to discover and functionally characterise novel factors that:

  • are required early in the molecular process of legume nodule development
  • act to control legume nodule numbers, or
  • are regulated by acid soils to inhibit nodule formation.

Findings can considerably enhance the current nodulation model and could help to underpin strategies to reduce the over-reliance on nitrogen fertiliser use in agriculture.

Location: St Lucia

Expected outcomes: advanced understanding of how various genes and signals function in the development and regulation of legume nodules. We also expect outcomes to contribute to future research efforts and publications

Supervisor: Dr Brett Ferguson

Before you apply: contact the primary supervisor for more details

Project members

Dr Brett Ferguson

Senior Research Fellow
School of Agriculture and Food Sciences