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A view from the conference Down Under

March 22, 2012

New Phytologist is becoming rhizobiologists’ journal of the month. My last post was about Maren Friesen’s exploration of the evolutionary trade-offs of the symbiosis.  You should read her comment, which adds some additional important points.  Now, New Phyt has published Janet Sprent’s perspective on the 17th International Congress on Nitrogen Fixation (ICNF), Fremantle, Western Australia, November 2011.  Janet’s comments are always worth reading, given her unrivalled expertise in the field of legume nodulation.  In her review, she highlights contributions to the meeting in the areas of the biogeography of the symbiosis and some aspects of inoculation in agriculture.  For those of us who were unable to get to Australia, this is a valuable glimpse of some of the highlights we missed, and there are some useful references to follow up.

Sprent, J. (2012) From pure to applied: legume research reports from Down Under. New Phytologist 194: 318-320.


From → Agriculture, Taxonomy

  1. julieardley permalink

    Belated thanks Peter, for featuring Janet Sprent’s report of the Fremantle conference in your blog. I think we all managed to have a great time, as well as taking in some interesting science.

    Janet’s comments highlighted two themes of the meeting: the biogeography of legume nodulation and the hope that biological nitrogen fixation can help to provide sustainable increases in agricultural productivity in the future. Modern agriculture has, of course, completely altered the biogeography of many landscapes. One of the interesting corollaries of introducing exotic crop and pasture legumes (and their associated rhizobia) into an agricultural system has been the evolution, in some cases through horizontal gene transfer of symbiotic genes, of less effective but apparently more saprophytically competent rhizobial strains. It’s a fascinating experiment in a vast outdoor laboratory – but also a serious problem to overcome.

    Best wishes


    • Thanks, Julie! You are right to emphasise that we humans have moved a lot of organisms around the world. Not just plant and animals, but microbes, too. Sometimes deliberately, but often without knowing it.

      I am sorry about the grumpy face that appears next to your comment. These faces are assigned by something called Wavatar to people who do not have their own avatar. They obviously don’t know how happy and smiling you really are! If you want to be associated with a prettier picture, the answer is to upload one to Gravatar.


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