Sustainable soils for agriculture
Food security depends upon the sustainable and efficient provision of nutrients and water by soil and soil structure, all of which are enhanced by soil organic matter. Quantitative analysis of carbon fluxes from plants to soil and the storage of carbon in soils and vegetation forms an important part of the Sheffield programme, which includes developing methods for carbon budgeting in urban greenspace and its potential contribution to sustainable urban environments.
Inducing novel broad spectrum disease resistance in wheat.
This collaborative project between Dr Duncan Cameron, Professor Jonathan Leake and Professor Mike Burrell (all of the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences) and industrial partner RAGT Seeds investigates the interactions between mycorrhizas and plant roots in agroecosystems. It is funded by the Technology Strategy Board and BBSRC. The project aims to understand the extent of mycorrhiza induced host resistance in ancient varieties of wheat and its genetic basis. This will lead to novel varieties of wheat that require lower inputs of pesticides and as well as lower rates mineral nutrient application by farmers, critical for food security in the post phosphorus era.
Whole plant metabolic responses to co infection by mycorrhizal and pathogenic fungi in wheat.
In a second project, funded by the Grantham Foundation, Dr Cameron is examining the biochemical responses of plants that are colonised by mycorrhizal fungi to attack from pathogenic fungi. Understanding the fundamental biochemistry of mycorrhiza induced disease resista raybans nce in wheat would allow this information to feed into crop breeding programmes. In Sheffield, we have pioneered the application of metabolomic techniques to resolve the biochemistry of the interactions between plants mycorrhizal fungi.
Understanding and shrinking the urban ca raybans rbon footprint.
In an EPSRC funded consortium involving the Universities of Loughborough, Newcastle, De Montfort Leicester and Sheffield are determining the amount of biological sequestration of carbon in urban s raybans oils and vegetation, and developing ways of using urban greenspace to help reduce and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. Urban food production on allotments and gardens is one way of simultanenously reducing food miles and emissions associated with industrial agricultur raybans e, whilst making a modest contribution to food security. In a second EPSRC funded consortium (SECURE, SElf Conserving URban Environments) with the Universities of Newcastle and Loughborough, Dr Leake is providing robust measurements of the extent of core ecosystem services in urban areas of NE England (greenspace landuse, soil and vegetation carbon storage, local food production, wood fuel) and integrating these services into a new regional urbanization and transport model developed for the whole North East Region. These models will be used to determine optimal scenarios to 2050 for increasing local food, biofuel and waste based energy supplies, and the consequent knock on savings in energy in the transport network, and avoided CO2 emissions taking into account the potential transport fleet and infrastrucures.
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