Legume plants can enter into a symbiotic relationship with nitrogen-fixing rhizobia bacteria. This relationship can considerably improve soil health and crop yields, reducing the need for expensive and polluting nitrogen fertilisers and helping to enhance agricultural sustainability and food security. Legume plants form new root organs, called nodules, to house their rhizobia partners. The process of forming a nodule is called nodulation and it's tightly regulated by the host plant to optimise resources, often based on environmental conditions. Soil acidity is one environmental factor that can negatively influence nodulation. It represents a serious global problem as many of the world’s agricultural soils are acidic. This project aims to identify and characterise critical new molecular factors of legumes that function in acid-regulation of nodulation. Findings will enhance our knowledge of the genes and signals that act in acid-inhibition, and could benefit future efforts to overcome the negative effect of soil acidity on legume nodulation.

Location: St Lucia

Supervisors: Dr Brett Ferguson

Before you apply: contact the primary supervisor for more details

Expected outcomes: advanced understanding of how various genes and signals function in the development and regulation of legume nodules in response to soil acidity. Outcomes are also anticipated to contribute to future research efforts and publications

Project members

Dr Brett Ferguson

Senior Research Fellow
School of Agriculture and Food Sciences