Animal Production Science Animal Production Science Society
Food, fibre and pharmaceuticals from animals

Application of biochemical studies to improving nitrogen fixation

C. P. Vance and J. F. S. Lamb

Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture 41(3) 403 - 416
Published: 2001


Improvement of symbiotic nitrogen fixation requires a multidisciplinary approach with a comprehensive program ranging from microbial ecology to plant breeding and genomics. Achievement of symbiotic nitrogen fixation requires at least 100 genes from each partner interacting in a favorable environment. The more information that we obtain from applied and fundamental studies of Rhizobium–legume and Frankia–non-legume symbioses, the greater are our chances to extend nitrogen fixation to non-fixing species. Studies with alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) aimed at improving symbiotic nitrogen fixation have resulted in significant advances in germplasm development, plant biochemistry, microbial ecology and the understanding of plant genes involved in nodule nitrogen and carbon metabolism. However, translation to field improvement of symbiotic nitrogen fixation has proven elusive.

Keywords: root nodules, nitrogen assimilation, carbon assimilation, molecular, plant breeding.

© CSIRO 2001

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