Exploiting root exudation of organic acids and phytases to enhance plant utilisation of soil phosphorus

Lead Research Organisation: Rothamsted Research
Department Name: Sustainable Soils and Grassland Systems

Abstract

Phosphorus (P) is a non-renewable resource, essential for crop production. Uncertainties over mineral P supplies coupled with concerns for food security and environmental impact of P on waters all necessitate an improvement in agronomic P efficiencies, based on sound knowledge of the range of P forms in soils. Our research is different to previous approaches to recover P from soils in that it focuses on the organic P (Po) components and uses a novel combination of root exudates from different plants to solubilise organic P and make it bioavailable as inorganic orthophosphate.

The two fundamental problems associated with the use of soil organic P by plants are that much of it is strongly attached to soil particles and therefore inaccessible to plants, and secondly, even when not firmly attached to soil particles, the forms in which it exists are not readily available for plant uptake. Some plants possess traits that can help access organic P in soils; firstly some plants can produce organic acids from their roots, which can release the P attached to soil particles, and secondly some can release phosphatases (e.g. phytase), which can hydrolyse the organic P into forms which plants can take-up. However, crop plants generally do not possess both these traits and so combinations of plants are required, each carrying out a different role. Systems that rely on clover undersown into cereal crops to provide nitrogen (N) to the current crop, act as an overwinter green manure, and to provide N to following crops are fairly common in organic farming enterprises. We have clover lines which can produce phytase required to mineralize organic P, while some strains of barley have been shown to release organic acids, making the organic P available for mineralisation. We will investigate a clover/barley bi-cropping system as an exemplar sustainable alternative to intensive applications of P and N fertilizers, thus potentially making the arable system more efficient both economically and environmentally. Thus we shall test the overarching hypothesis that: Cropping systems with roots exuding both organic acid anions and phytase can facilitate more sustainable agricultural production by accessing soil organic P forms.

Specifically, we propose to investigate and understand the role of organic acids and phosphatases in plant mixtures in accessing the organic P from the inositol phosphate pool. We shall then explore what happens to these organic P forms in the soils and the rhizosphere and examine their potential (or otherwise) for leaching from the soil to surface waters where they may cause eutrophication. A range of experiments will be carried out to identify potentially suitable strains of barley and clover for such a system, followed by experiments incorporating different combinations of these strains, grown in soil, to assess what combinations can most efficiently access different forms of organic P, while minimizing leaching losses. By increasing the amount of P utilized from the P stored in soils we can reduce the reliance on inorganic fertilisers, increasing agricultural sustainability and improving our ability to deliver food security in coming decades.

Technical Summary

Organic phosphorus is a common constituent of the P in many soils and comprises mostly of esters of fully oxidised P where P is attached to C through an O atom. Other compounds such as phosphonates and organic polyphosphates occur in lesser amounts. Our appreciation of the extent to which crop plants can utilise organic P pools in soils is limited. The overarching aim of the project is to test the hypothesis that: Cropping systems with roots exuding both organic acid anions and phytase can facilitate more sustainable agricultural production by accessing soil organic P forms.

We will investigate and attempt to understand the role of organic acid anions and phosphatases in exemplar plant mixtures in accessing organic P in soils. We shall then explore what happens to these compounds in the soils and the rhizosphere. A range of experiments will be carried out to identify potentially suitable strains of barley and clover for such a system, followed by experiments incorporating different combinations of these strains, grown in soil, to assess what combinations can most efficiently access different forms of organic P, while minimizing the losses of P via leachate. Experiments and techniques employed will include screening of plant populations for abilities to exude organic acids and phosphatases using anion exchange resins (AERs) and DGT (diffusive gradients in thin films), HPLC, enzyme hydrolysis and 31P nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) analysis, for identification of organic P compounds and groups in soil extracts and soil water.

Planned Impact

The subject of this proposal is highly relevant to current policy in the UK, with innovation and efficiency of nutrient use being highlighted as one of the key factors in developing both national and global sustainable food security. This was the subject of a recent Foresight Workshop on 'Stimulating Innovation and Efficiency in Fertiliser Production and Use' (20th September 2012), convened by the UK Government Office for Science and attended by two of the proposing group. At the workshop the Government Chief Scientific Advisor, Sir John Beddington, highlighted the urgent need to address food production issues of which sustainable nutrient use is a vital component, but stated that governments have been slow to realise this urgency and to acknowledge the indisputable role fertiliser use will play. One of the conclusions from the workshop, attended by leading UK and international academic researchers and fertiliser industry specialists, was that improved phosphorus acquisition traits in crops and cropping systems will play an important role in achieving these goals.
This proposed project will explore technologies to improve crop productivity and nutrient use efficiency by enhancing the availability to plants of organic P in soils (which is relatively unavailable, but plentiful), whilst also minimising any potential negative environmental consequences. It therefore has implications to help agricultural producers and scientists, fertiliser suppliers, crop breeders, land and catchment managers through to policy makers. Knowledge of organic P species in soils is fundamental to the development of new plant varieties able to hydrolyse the organic P resources which may occur in different soil types and therefore this project is of particular interest to plant breeders. Additionally, it will assist with development of cropping techniques such as bi-cropping for maximizing the benefits of different plant traits.
Ultimately this work could potentially inform policy through providing information on how to maximize crop yields while minimizing fertiliser inputs. Results could influence the way in which cropping systems are considered in the future both nationally and internationally, providing some fundamental science supporting their development, based on more than just yield/productivity, but also on the specific soil/plant processes involved. In the long term this work could contribute to the nation's wealth by providing guidance on more nutrient efficient cropping techniques and indicating which traits in plants should be developed, and how they may work in tandem to maximize productivity while minimizing fertiliser usage. It may also mean that the nation becomes less reliant on the increasingly scarce global mineral P resources, which are not only becoming more expensive, but also in a time of political instability, could potentially become inaccessible. Internationally, the approaches developed here could mean increases in crop yields in under-developed regions where fertilisers are unavailable. The basic principle behind the science proposed here is relatively simple to convey, and in combination with its strategic importance to BBSRC with regard to Food Security, makes it an ideal topic to showcase to the public. This will be done at all the participating Institutes' Open days/School Science Week events, meaning it would not only have benefits to the current scientific community, but may also stimulate a new generation of scientists into this field of research. This project addresses the BBSRC strategic research priority areas of crop science (food security) and global security.

Publications

10 25 50

 
Description The interaction of phytases, Po and and organic acids with the soil solid phase was investigated using a combination of plant cultivation and soil analysis techniques, including Diffusive Gradients Thin Films (DGT), soil phosphatase zymography, and the analysis of P fractions and species using solution 31P NMR spectroscopy, extract, and enzyme-based soil assays. A range of experiments were conducted to identify cultivars of barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) and legume species with complementary root exudation and morphological characteristics for intercropping. Through facilitation and improved cycling of P in soils, the intercropped barley and legume lines are expected to facilitate sustainable agricultural production through improved P use efficiency, possible by acquiring soil organic P. An intercropping experiment was designed based on the results of an initial barley and legume screening study, which recommended that barley cultivars and legume species with the most disparate exudate and morphological root characteristics would experience fewer competitive interactions and may therefore facilitate the acquisition of P from soils. The intercropping study with barley and legumes showed that complementarity occurred in some but not all plant combinations and depended on soil P availability, whereby complementarity was greatest at the sub-critical P requirement for barley. Using model tobacco plant lines with heterologous expression of fungal phytases (Phy) and Arabidopsis citrate transporters (Cit), the beneficial interaction of citrate and phytase exudation was demonstrated in a soil with limited P availability (Podzol). Positive growth effects between intercropped (Int) citrate- and phytase-exuding plant lines coincided with the depletion of organic P in rhizosphere soils when the roots of two plants were intermingled. An experiment was designed to investigate the importance of root intermingling in the development of complementarity between the citrate- and phytase-exuding tobacco plant lines. As observed in the first study with tobacco, positive complementarity occurred in the P limited soil when Cit and Phy plant roots intermingled. However, when plant roots were separated by a permeable mesh barrier, complementarity diminished. Whether complementarity occurred in separated root treatments depended on the source and relative mobility of the phytase being expressed. The Peniophora lycii phyA is expected to be relatively more mobile in soil (pH 5) compared to the Aspergillus niger phyA based on differences in isoelectric point. Only in Cit+Phy plant combinations containing the more mobile phytase was positive complementarity observed in separated root treatments. This study also showed that complementarity between Cit and Phy plants only occurs under conditions of limited soil P availability and scales with the rate of citrate efflux in Cit plants. Importantly, gains in shoot P content due to the interaction of these exudates in a P limited soil (+0.1-0.2% shoot P) would be adequate for many crop species to transition from physiological deficient to sufficient in P. The interaction of citrate and phytase exudates was expected to promote the depletion of organic P forms in the rhizosphere. Specifically, tobacco plants expressing the Phy exudation trait were expected to promote the depletion of soil phytate beyond that of wild-type or vector control plant lines. Analysis of rhizosphere soils with solution 31P nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy showed that the Phy trait did not lead to a greater depletion of soil organic P (in comparison to null vector and wild-type plants) when plants were grown in a soil with adequate P in plant available P (Cambisol). Pleiotropic effects of the vector plant line, including a larger root biomass, and differences in soil pH among plant treatments were likely factors effected this outcome. However, in a limited available P soil, 31P NMR analysis revealed a greater depletion of soil organic P (albeit not phytate specifically) and increase in plant available orthophosphate in soils planted with Cit and Phy tobacco combinations. The intercropped plant combinations also accumulated more shoot P than the other plant treatments, suggesting that organic P converted to orthophosphate in soil was utilised for growth by these plants. Collectively, the experiments conducted with tobacco indicate that the interaction of citrate and phytase exudates promotes the conversion of soil organic P for plant P uptake, but only when soil available P is limited. The development of complementarity in barley-legume intercropping systems also only occurred with limited soil P availability. The development of positive complementarity and gains in shoot P content could be sufficient to improve plant P nutrition in cropping systems but will depend on exudate characteristics (rate of efflux, enzyme mobility) and distribution of exudates in soil. Furthermore, organic anion and phosphatase exudate-based strategies for improving the acquisition of soil P by plants appear to be the most effective in limited available P soils, which are also abundant in organic P. Using the DGT method applied in soils, studies of P bioavailability, mobility and resupply from solid phase were performed in 32 UK soils and a set of controlled experiments using 2 UK soils were conducted to investigate the effect of various organic anions on solid-to-solution phase partitioning of phosphorus. This allowed a better comprehension of the phosphorus chemistry with deep insights on its agronomic use across a wide range of different UK soils and plant exudation conditions.
Exploitation Route Findings will be published in peer reviewed journals and presented at conferences.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Environment

URL http://soilorganicp.com
 
Description Findings have been published in several journals, presented at conferences and presented at informal events with the general public. More papers are in preparation.
First Year Of Impact 2014
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink,Environment
Impact Types Societal

 
Description Defra Meeting, Implications for Policy and the 25 Year Plans
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
 
Description EU consultation on P Sustainability
Geographic Reach Asia 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
URL http://ec.europa.eu/environment/consultations/pdf/phosphorus/EN.pdf
 
Description BBSRC PARTNERSHIP AWARD FUNDING
Amount £20,000 (GBP)
Organisation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2014 
End 06/2016
 
Description Royal Society International Exchange Programme - China
Amount £24,000 (GBP)
Organisation The Royal Society 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2017 
End 03/2019
 
Title 31P-NMR 
Description This method uses 31P-NMR to identify and quantify phosphorus compounds (especially organic phosphorus compounds) in soil extractions and water. We are currently developing this technique further using 2D-NMR to enable better resolution of mono-esters. 
Type Of Material Technology assay or reagent 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact This method provides insight into the cycling and availability of phosphorus in soils and waters. 
 
Title Microplate enzyme assay 
Description Analysis of the phosphatase-hydrolysable phosphorus released from soil extracts using colourimetric detection on a microplate reader, where previously assays were done on a larger scale. 
Type Of Material Technology assay or reagent 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Analysis is now quicker (reduced equipment preparation, less sample handling), allowing a greater throughput of samples, and more cost effective (lower quantities of expensive phosphatase enzymes used). 
 
Title Soil phosphorus mobility and resupply using diffusive gradients in thin films (DGT) 
Description A combination of DGT and DET devices and DIFS model was used to calculate the response time of solution P reequilibration, as well as the distance of depletion of solution and adsorbed P. 
Type Of Material Technology assay or reagent 
Year Produced 2014 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact There is ongoing research that is going to be published in scientific per reviewed journals. 
URL http://www.dgtresearch.com/
 
Title Using stable isotopes of oxygen in phosphate to trace sources of phosphorus and cycling processes 
Description Stable isotopes are often used to help understand cycling of nutrients (e.g. N and C) but phosphorus has only one stable isotope meaning this technique is not possible. However, phosphorus is nearly always associated with oxygen (phosphate) in the natural environment and oxygen does have different stable isotopes. Therefore we can use these isotopes to both trace phosphate in different systems and identify types and rates of processes occurring in soils, plants and water. 
Type Of Material Technology assay or reagent 
Year Produced 2014 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The method is still very much under development, but we have used it to trace sources of phosphate in surface waters and secure funding from Natural England and the Westcountry Rivers Trust. 
 
Description BBSRC Partnering Award - Building Phosphorus Research Potential: Developing existing methods and exploring the potential of emerging techniques. 
Organisation James Hutton Institute
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Host a workshop and stakeholder meeting at Rothamsted comprising delegates from all three institutes to exchange knowledge, ideas and develop programs of work and future proposals focussing on phosphorus cycling in agricultural systems to support the BBSRC priority area of Food Security. To develop and carry out together a preliminary program of work on two BBSRC National Capabilities, namely the Rothamsted Long Term Experiments (LTEs) and the North Wyke Farm Platform (NWFP). This will pump-prime BBSRC responsive mode grant proposals into phosphorus acquisition by arable crops and in grassland systems respectively.
Collaborator Contribution Host a workshop at Smithonian Research Centre comprising delegates from all three institutes to exchange knowledge, ideas and develop programs of work and future proposals focussing on phosphorus cycling in agricultural systems to support the BBSRC priority area of Food Security
Impact Workshop held at Rothamsted in October 2014 Stakeholder meeting held at Rothamsted October 2014 Disciplines involved are STRI - Dr Ben Turner is Director of the Soils Department at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama. He is widely acknowledged as being one of the leading world experts in the field of soil and water phosphorus cycling, with particular expertise in organic phosphorus and its measurement. He has expertise in the measurement of organic phosphorus in waters and soil extracts using 31P-NMR and enzyme hydrolysis techniques, and has been fundamental in the development of these methods over the past 10 years. Ms Dayana Agudo is the laboratory superintendent of the STRI soils laboratory, and an expert in a wide range of techniques in phosphorus analysis, including enzyme hydrolysis and 31P-NMR sample preparation. Ms Alex Bielnicka is a research chemist with expertise in all aspects of phosphorus analysis. Rothamsted Research - Dr Martin Blackwell is PI on the BBSRC organic phosphorus project (BB/K018795/1) with Lancaster University, and is leading studies within Rothamsted which are utilising 31P-NMR and d18O-PO4 stable isotope techniques. Prof Steve McGrath is a PI on Rothamsted's Institute Strategic Programme (ISP) on Delivering Sustainable Systems, and leads the workpackage on "Optimisation of nutrients in soil-plant systems - Determining how phosphorus availability is regulated in soils" (BBS/E/C/00005197), which involves all the Rothamsted staff mentioned in this proposal. Dr Steve Granger is an early career scientist with expertise in the use and application of the d18O-PO4 stable isotope technique for the tracing of phosphate sources and is currently developing this methodology as a tool for indicating enzymatic processes in plants. Dr Jane Hawkins has expertise in the use of HPLC techniques for the analysis of organic compounds, and will work with Prof Haygarth and the postdoc appointed on the new BBSRC project at Lancaster University on the development of this method for measuring organic phosphorus compounds in solution. Lancaster University - Prof Phil Haygarth is an expert on soils and their interactions with connected water-bodies, from catchment to coast and plant to planet. He is lead PI on the BBSRC organic phosphorus project (BB/K018795/1) and currently the President of the British Society of Soil Science. Prof Hao Zhang has expertise in advanced environmental analytical techniques, and developed the DGT (Diffusive Gradients in Thin Films) method for measuring elements and compounds in soils. Dr Ben Surridge has expertise in the use of d18O-PO4 isotope tracers to investigate biological and geochemical controls on phosphorus cycling within freshwater.
Start Year 2014
 
Description BBSRC Partnering Award - Building Phosphorus Research Potential: Developing existing methods and exploring the potential of emerging techniques. 
Organisation Lancaster University
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Host a workshop and stakeholder meeting at Rothamsted comprising delegates from all three institutes to exchange knowledge, ideas and develop programs of work and future proposals focussing on phosphorus cycling in agricultural systems to support the BBSRC priority area of Food Security. To develop and carry out together a preliminary program of work on two BBSRC National Capabilities, namely the Rothamsted Long Term Experiments (LTEs) and the North Wyke Farm Platform (NWFP). This will pump-prime BBSRC responsive mode grant proposals into phosphorus acquisition by arable crops and in grassland systems respectively.
Collaborator Contribution Host a workshop at Smithonian Research Centre comprising delegates from all three institutes to exchange knowledge, ideas and develop programs of work and future proposals focussing on phosphorus cycling in agricultural systems to support the BBSRC priority area of Food Security
Impact Workshop held at Rothamsted in October 2014 Stakeholder meeting held at Rothamsted October 2014 Disciplines involved are STRI - Dr Ben Turner is Director of the Soils Department at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama. He is widely acknowledged as being one of the leading world experts in the field of soil and water phosphorus cycling, with particular expertise in organic phosphorus and its measurement. He has expertise in the measurement of organic phosphorus in waters and soil extracts using 31P-NMR and enzyme hydrolysis techniques, and has been fundamental in the development of these methods over the past 10 years. Ms Dayana Agudo is the laboratory superintendent of the STRI soils laboratory, and an expert in a wide range of techniques in phosphorus analysis, including enzyme hydrolysis and 31P-NMR sample preparation. Ms Alex Bielnicka is a research chemist with expertise in all aspects of phosphorus analysis. Rothamsted Research - Dr Martin Blackwell is PI on the BBSRC organic phosphorus project (BB/K018795/1) with Lancaster University, and is leading studies within Rothamsted which are utilising 31P-NMR and d18O-PO4 stable isotope techniques. Prof Steve McGrath is a PI on Rothamsted's Institute Strategic Programme (ISP) on Delivering Sustainable Systems, and leads the workpackage on "Optimisation of nutrients in soil-plant systems - Determining how phosphorus availability is regulated in soils" (BBS/E/C/00005197), which involves all the Rothamsted staff mentioned in this proposal. Dr Steve Granger is an early career scientist with expertise in the use and application of the d18O-PO4 stable isotope technique for the tracing of phosphate sources and is currently developing this methodology as a tool for indicating enzymatic processes in plants. Dr Jane Hawkins has expertise in the use of HPLC techniques for the analysis of organic compounds, and will work with Prof Haygarth and the postdoc appointed on the new BBSRC project at Lancaster University on the development of this method for measuring organic phosphorus compounds in solution. Lancaster University - Prof Phil Haygarth is an expert on soils and their interactions with connected water-bodies, from catchment to coast and plant to planet. He is lead PI on the BBSRC organic phosphorus project (BB/K018795/1) and currently the President of the British Society of Soil Science. Prof Hao Zhang has expertise in advanced environmental analytical techniques, and developed the DGT (Diffusive Gradients in Thin Films) method for measuring elements and compounds in soils. Dr Ben Surridge has expertise in the use of d18O-PO4 isotope tracers to investigate biological and geochemical controls on phosphorus cycling within freshwater.
Start Year 2014
 
Description BBSRC Partnering Award - Building Phosphorus Research Potential: Developing existing methods and exploring the potential of emerging techniques. 
Organisation Smithsonian Institution
Department Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
Country Panama 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Host a workshop and stakeholder meeting at Rothamsted comprising delegates from all three institutes to exchange knowledge, ideas and develop programs of work and future proposals focussing on phosphorus cycling in agricultural systems to support the BBSRC priority area of Food Security. To develop and carry out together a preliminary program of work on two BBSRC National Capabilities, namely the Rothamsted Long Term Experiments (LTEs) and the North Wyke Farm Platform (NWFP). This will pump-prime BBSRC responsive mode grant proposals into phosphorus acquisition by arable crops and in grassland systems respectively.
Collaborator Contribution Host a workshop at Smithonian Research Centre comprising delegates from all three institutes to exchange knowledge, ideas and develop programs of work and future proposals focussing on phosphorus cycling in agricultural systems to support the BBSRC priority area of Food Security
Impact Workshop held at Rothamsted in October 2014 Stakeholder meeting held at Rothamsted October 2014 Disciplines involved are STRI - Dr Ben Turner is Director of the Soils Department at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama. He is widely acknowledged as being one of the leading world experts in the field of soil and water phosphorus cycling, with particular expertise in organic phosphorus and its measurement. He has expertise in the measurement of organic phosphorus in waters and soil extracts using 31P-NMR and enzyme hydrolysis techniques, and has been fundamental in the development of these methods over the past 10 years. Ms Dayana Agudo is the laboratory superintendent of the STRI soils laboratory, and an expert in a wide range of techniques in phosphorus analysis, including enzyme hydrolysis and 31P-NMR sample preparation. Ms Alex Bielnicka is a research chemist with expertise in all aspects of phosphorus analysis. Rothamsted Research - Dr Martin Blackwell is PI on the BBSRC organic phosphorus project (BB/K018795/1) with Lancaster University, and is leading studies within Rothamsted which are utilising 31P-NMR and d18O-PO4 stable isotope techniques. Prof Steve McGrath is a PI on Rothamsted's Institute Strategic Programme (ISP) on Delivering Sustainable Systems, and leads the workpackage on "Optimisation of nutrients in soil-plant systems - Determining how phosphorus availability is regulated in soils" (BBS/E/C/00005197), which involves all the Rothamsted staff mentioned in this proposal. Dr Steve Granger is an early career scientist with expertise in the use and application of the d18O-PO4 stable isotope technique for the tracing of phosphate sources and is currently developing this methodology as a tool for indicating enzymatic processes in plants. Dr Jane Hawkins has expertise in the use of HPLC techniques for the analysis of organic compounds, and will work with Prof Haygarth and the postdoc appointed on the new BBSRC project at Lancaster University on the development of this method for measuring organic phosphorus compounds in solution. Lancaster University - Prof Phil Haygarth is an expert on soils and their interactions with connected water-bodies, from catchment to coast and plant to planet. He is lead PI on the BBSRC organic phosphorus project (BB/K018795/1) and currently the President of the British Society of Soil Science. Prof Hao Zhang has expertise in advanced environmental analytical techniques, and developed the DGT (Diffusive Gradients in Thin Films) method for measuring elements and compounds in soils. Dr Ben Surridge has expertise in the use of d18O-PO4 isotope tracers to investigate biological and geochemical controls on phosphorus cycling within freshwater.
Start Year 2014
 
Description Contribution of Root Hairs, Mycorrhizae and Bacteria to Organic P Use by Crops 
Organisation China Agricultural University (CAU)
Country China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We provide plant genetic materials and experimental know-how developed in existing projects
Collaborator Contribution The CAU partners bring expertise in stable-isotope probing methods to isolate the impact of root exudates on specific rhizosphere microbes.
Impact One paper published and several in development.
Start Year 2017
 
Description Rutherford Fellowship with Vincenza Cozzolino for 6 months 
Organisation University of Naples
Country Italy 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I have provided experimental guidance and facilitated the carrying-out of research at Rothamsted. Rothamsted have provided facilities with which to carry out the research
Collaborator Contribution University of Naples have provided Vincenza Cozzolino with a 6 month sabbatical to undertake the fellowship.
Impact Not Multi-disciplinary - soil science
Start Year 2018
 
Description A microcosm that enriches for organic phosphorus degraders present in soil. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This was a poster presentation at the International Plant Nutrition Colloquium (IPNC), University of Copenhagen, 21-24 August 2017.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Agricultural diversification in the Highlands of Borneo 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I presented work on roots for sustainability at the workshop in Sarawak
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description BBSRC International Partnering Award Workshop with INIA, Uruguay. 2-4th December 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Study participants or study members
Results and Impact This was a workshop to share research ideas and develop collaborations between INIA and Rothamsted Research as part of the BBSRC Partnering Award between the two Institutes.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description British Society of Soil Science Southwest Regional Group Meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This was a meeting of the South West England Soils Discussion Group, a regional group of the British Society of Soil Science. The title of the meeting was 'Phosphorus and Soils - vital elements for agriculture. A total of 9 presentations were given, 7 by the BBSRC project team. The purpose was to highlight the work being carried out in this BBSRC project and to have a discussion on some of the key issues relating to phosphorus in agriculture. Over 40 people attended from local research institutes, the local farming community and government organisations.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description China - Sino-German P workshop, 11th-17th November, China Agricultural University, Beijing, China 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact This was a workshop marking the initiation of a Sino-German Programme of work between China Agricultural University and Hohenheim University, Germany. I was invited to give a keynote address on the work on phosphorus related topics in which I am involved.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description ERDF Impact Lab Bootcamp, Exeter Science Park, 6th November 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact This was a workshop focused around the 'Water Resilience Challenge', one of the key themes of the Impact Lab. The main focus of the event to bring everyone together to hothouse ideas, form new collaborations, gain new insights and refine solutions to the defined challenges. Industry partners were teamed up with appropriate acdemics so that they could tackle individual challenges together.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.impactlab.org.uk/events/view/take-on-the-challenge-water-resilience
 
Description Ecosystems and Land Use Stakeholders Engagement Group Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact A stakeholder event for Scottish Government Policy Makers was held in Edinburgh to brief on the latest advances in root biology.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description IFA Webinar 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I gave a webinar for the International Fertiliser Association titled 'Increasing the Use-Efficiency of Fertilisers' to which over 100 participants loggedon. There were two other speakers on related topics and at the end questions were raised by viewers via a moderator.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSNYAR_AWeA
 
Description New crops and cropping systems for a more sustainable future 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I presented a seminar at a workshop on New Crops for Agricultural Sustainability at Crops For the Future in Malaysia
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Organic Phosphorus Workshop 2016 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This was an international conference on organic phosphorus with ca. 120 delegates.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://op2016.com/
 
Description Rothamsted Festival of Ideas - 22nd-24th June 2018. Life of Phosphorus Exhibit 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact This was the Rothamsted 'Festival of Ideas' celbrating 175 years of research at Rothamsted. The first day was dedicated to engagement with schools, VIP guests and industry partners. The second and third days were open to the public, and it is estimated that over 8,000 people attended. I was responsible for leading the 'Life of P' exhibit, which show-cased much of the work we have done and are doing on phosphorus in agriculture.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.rothamsted.ac.uk/events/rothamsted-festival-ideas
 
Description Royal Highland Show 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Around 100 members of public over the course of a day attended a stand at the Royal Highland Show. The stand was intended to raise awareness of soil issues, with a focus on plant use of soil phosphorus, soil erosion and soil micro- and macro-fauna. Games for children and families, and display stands for adults, generated discussion and a wider understanding of soil issues and the heterogeneous nature of soil.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Soil Phosphorus Forum 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Soil phosphorus forum is an open space of scientific discussion about soil phosphorus research. This site has had over 200 posts published and 4.3k visits in 2016, over 3k visits on 2015 and 1k visits in 2014 when it was launched.

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Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2015,2016
URL http://soilpforum.com/
 
Description USA Phosphorus Research Cordination Meeting Attendance and Conribution 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The first part of the week was a scientist meeting in Washington DC, followed by a platform presentatin by the greoup to stakeholders invited from Washington DC
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://phosphorusalliance.org/files/2017/05/NSF_Report_Weintraub.pdf
 
Description Understanding the complementarity between citrate and phytase exudation on the acquisition of phosphorus by plants 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This was a presentation at the International Plant Nutrition Colloquium, Copenhagen, Denmark, 20-24 August 2017. it was to an audience of approximately 500 plant scientists.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017