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India-UK Nitrogen Fixation Centre (IUNFC)

Posted by | February 21, 2021

Principal investigators: Dr. D.L.N Rao, Indian Council of Agricultural Research, Indian Institute of Soil Science; Professor Philip Poole, University of Oxford

Associated with: BBSRC-Newton Fund Call for Virtual Joint Centres with Brazil, China and India in Agricultural Nitrogen

Project Summary:

The India-UK Nitrogen Fixation Centre (IUNFC) is a Virtual Joint Centre (VJC) of scientists working in India and UK to improve nutrition from rain-fed legume crops through cutting-edge biological research into nitrogen fixation. Planting legumes can increase the nitrogen in the soil as on their roots small nodules form which contain nitrogen-fixing bacteria which are able to ‘fix’ nitrogen from the air into a form (as ammonia) which can be used by plants. The legume pigeon pea is one of the most important crops in drylands in India, but suffers from inconsistent yields and poor nodulation by ineffective rhizobia (the nitrogen-fixing bacteria associated with this plant). Our aim is to improve selection of optimal plant lines and rhizobial inoculants to increase plant growth and grain yield for use in drought-stressed Indian soils.