Developing Crop Varieties with Improved Nutrient-Use Efficiency

  • David A. Lightfoot


New crop plants suited to growth in semiarid environments will be fundamental to the future of agriculture. The interactions between nitrogen supply and water availability that determine yield and quality in crops grown in semiarid environments are being elucidated. The change in glutamate concentration has profound effects on plant metabolisms. The metabolic changes resulted in phenotypic changes that included increases in mean plant biomass production in dry soils, tolerance to the herbicide phosphinothricin, tolerance to both severe and mild water deficit, and resistance to rotting necrotrophs including carcinogenic Aspergillus flavus contaminations. Leaves had higher nutritional value and higher yield indicating improved NUE and WUE. Sporulation of A. flavus can be inhibited. Cancer incidences due to toxin contamination can potentially be reduced by 50%. Biomarkers for these valuable traits in crops of importance are being sought through proteomics and metanomics. Changes in the rhizosphere’s microbiome occur. Plants can become more nutritionally valuable.


Nitrogen Nutrition Symbiosis Plant Yield Crops Environment 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Plant, Soil and Agricultural Systems: Genomics and BiotechnologyCenter for Excellence, The Illinois Soybean Center: Southern Illinois UniversityCarbondaleUSA

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