PIs: Eoin Brodie (ESD), Peter Nico (ESD)
We find ourselves at an unprecedented point in human history. An accelerating population of more than 7 billion is severely stressing the Earth’s ability to provide food and energy. As a result, we are faced with producing more with less in ways that reduce our negative impact on climate, environmental quality and health.
Phosphorus (P) is a critical plant nutrient for which the US will increasingly be reliant on foreign reserves to meet the growing demand of our fuel and food production. Microorganisms have adapted numerous strategies for accessing the >99% of P in soils that is not available for plant uptake. By developing a fundamental understanding of these strategies and their regulation in the environment we plan to design, build and test new plant-microbial partnerships to sustainably supply P for nutrition of an important bioenergy feedstock cultivated on marginal lands.