Phosphorus fertilisers have contributed to major increases in global food production.
But now the world is running out of mineable phosphorus reserves. Our research team explores if plants with super-efficient use of phosphorus, which evolved among the impoverished soils in Australia, can show us how to develop crops that are less reliant on non-renewable phosphorus fertilisers.
The overarching philosophy of our research is that balancing the phosphorus demand for increased global food production with decreasing phosphorus resources can be mitigated by understanding the mechanisms in plants from phosphorus-impoverished soils and exploiting this for future crop plants.
Decreasing reserves of phosphorus fertiliser, a non-renewable resource, are threatening global food security. The phosphorus-impoverished soils in Australia allowed the evolution of plants that are amazingly efficient at acquiring and using phosphorus. The research of the team focuses on the mechanisms underlying the capacity to acquire and use phosphorus, exploring if a plants high-phosphorus efficiency is traded off against acclimation potential, as both are essential for future crops.