Research Topic

Nutrient Use-Efficiency in Plants: An Integrative Approach

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About this Research Topic

Feeding a growing world population while ensuring agricultural sustainable practices requires the maintenance, and eventually the increase, of crop yields while reducing the use of fertilizers under the future-defying conditions originated by global warming. The magnitude of this challenge is even greater ...

Feeding a growing world population while ensuring agricultural sustainable practices requires the maintenance, and eventually the increase, of crop yields while reducing the use of fertilizers under the future-defying conditions originated by global warming. The magnitude of this challenge is even greater considering that two-thirds of worldwide agricultural land will likely diminish in productivity over the next 20-30 years. This will require the development of crops with a high use-efficiency of nutrients, especially under abiotic stress conditions. To achieve this, it is necessary to fully understand how plants acquire and utilize the different essential nutrients in an effective way. It is also necessary to identify the genetic determinants of the components of use-efficiency and the possible trade-offs among them as well as with food quality.

The goal of this Research Topic is to present the latest research in the field of mineral nutrition in plants, including model species, crops, and trees, with a focus on nutrient acquisition and utilization efficiencies. New findings describing relevant factors affecting nutrient use-efficiency of plants are especially welcome. Works related to nutrient acquisition under conditions of environmental stress, such as drought or flooding, are also appreciated. Manuscripts presenting studies on the use of cutting-edge technologies, such as omics and genome editing, or large-scale phenotyping are also welcome. As a result of this Research Topic, future research to improve crop productivity under low input agriculture can emerge.

Nutrient use-efficiency should be a common aspect of all the manuscripts presented, either by focusing on calculations of nutrient use-efficiency parameters (acquisition and utilization) or by discussing the results presented in relation to the possibility of increasing the components of nutrient use-efficiency. Subjects to be covered include, but are not limited to:
1. Nutrient acquisition and utilization during vegetative and reproductive plant growth: general and theoretical aspects (including perspectives derived from the use -and costs- of fertilizers; mineral nutrition and global change, an overview of perspectives based on crop management and crop breeding)
2. Screenings, at different scales, of crops and model plants for NAE (nutrient acquisition efficiency), NUtE (nutrient utilization efficiency) during vegetative and reproductive plant growth. Screenings for improving food quality (e.g. improving Fe and Zn content in the grains)
3. Soil microbiota as a key component in nutrient acquisition and utilization
4. Root adaptations to variable nutrient supply in the soil, including the relevance of root geometry and anatomy in nutrient acquisition
5. Improvements of Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Potassium, and Manganese acquisition and utilization
6. Improvements of Micronutrients and other major elements acquisition and utilization
7. Water and silicon, two important players
8. The nutrition of trees
9. The role of specific gene families in plant nutrition

Please refer to the homepage of Plant Nutrition for details on the technical and content expectations to the journal and section. Especially, consider that studies using omics approaches or reporting gene families will be considered for review only if expanded to provide additional experimental evidences of the conclusions derived from the study, providing biological insights into plant nutrient use efficiency.


Keywords: abiotic stress, global warming, nutrient utilization efficiency, nutrient acquisition efficiency


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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