Series: Current Plant Science & Biotechnology in Agriculture Volume: 31
708 pages, Illus, figs, tabs
The refinement of molecular techniques and the development of new probes of the phylogeny of diazotrophs has revealed an extreme biodiversity among the nitrogen fixers, which helps explain the role that nitrogen fixation plays in maintaining life on Earth. The most efficient ecosystems are those where the bacteria are associated with a plant in differentiated organs to benefit crop productivity. Most short-term benefit from fundamental research on nitrogen fixation is likely to result in the improvement of existing nitrogen-fixing symbiotic or associative systems. Longer-term efforts are aimed at extending the nitrogen-fixing capacity to other organisms, including transfer of the genetic information for efficient nitrogen fixation into the plant genome and using current knowledge of microbe-plant interactions to extend symbiosis to cereals and, in particular, to rice.Related challenges in sustainable agriculture and forestry include the creation of new nitrogen-fixing associations. All of these approaches were discussed at the 11th International Congress on Nitrogen Fixation, Paris, France, July 20-25, 1997 and covered in the present proceedings volume.
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