Thomas Ott, University of Freiburg, Germany, will give a talk about
"Engineering towards nitrogen fixing crops"
The current demands on modern agriculture are enormous, ranging from the requirement for increased crop resilience to severe limitations in water and nutrient supply. Latter is currently most compensated in the Northern hemisphere by the use of industrial fertilizers, while these are unaffordable for almost all small holder farmers world-wide including those in Sub-Saharan Africa. As energy prices rise astronomically, this gap is further widened especially for nitrogen fertilizers produced by the energy-demanding Haber-Bosch process.
Legumes such as beans, peas and others have maintained a symbiotic association, called root-nodule symbiosis, with soil-born rhizobia that enables them to receive organic nitrogen compounds from these bacteria. In return, they provide photosynthates to the microbes that serve as the main energy source to fix atmospheric nitrogen. As this ability makes them autonomous of any external fertilizer, its genetic transfer to cereals as the major crops would bear the opportunity to deliver seed to these small-holders that can be grown on nitrogen-depleted soils. This is what we aim for within the European ENSA consortium. In my talk, I will discuss the rationale, the challenges and the approaches that we take in this rather visionary project and briefly point out how our team efforts align with this program.
Thomas Ott studied biology at the Universities of Göttingen and Manchester (England). He completed his doctorate and took his first steps as a postdoc at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Plant Physiology in Golm. This was followed by a stay at the Laboratoire des Interactions Plantes-Microorganismes (LIPM, INRA), Toulouse, France as a Marie Curie PostDoc, before he moved to the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich in 2008, where he was head of an Emmy Noether Junior Research Group from 2009-2015. There he became Professor of Genetics, and subsequently received an appointment at the University of Freiburg. He is Professor of Plant Cell Biology there since 2016. His research focuses on plant-microbe interactions, protein organisation on cell surfaces and membrane-associated signal transduction.
Host: Guido Grossmann
Guests are welcome!
Thursday, December 8th, 2022