Congress to address nitrogen cycle questions

November 23, 2011

New innovations and discoveries in the nitrogen fixation process will be released and discussed at a major conference to be held in Fremantle from Sunday, November 27 to Thursday, December 1.

Hosted by Murdoch University’s Centre for Rhizobium Studies (CRS), the 17th International Congress on Nitrogen Fixation at the Esplanade Hotel will see scientists from all over the world gather to exchange ideas on a process which is as vital to life on earth as photosynthesis.

Nitrogen fixation is the natural process by which nitrogen in the atmosphere is converted into ammonia by bacteria like rhizobia, which can be found inside the root nodules of the legume family of plants. It is essential because fixed nitrogen is required to produce the basic building blocks of life like nucleotides for DNA and amino acids for proteins.

Congress chairman and CRS director Associate Professor Graham O’Hara said the conference would provide scientists with the opportunity to establish collaborations and consider important questions for the field.

“On the one hand we have the very exciting opportunities being provided by molecular technologies, with advances in these areas coming at an ever-increasing rate,” said A/Prof O’Hara.

“On the other hand, many of the challenges confronting the successful application of nitrogen fixation technology in agriculture remain the same, for example, developing new legumes and rhizobia for agriculture; and understanding the conundrums surrounding the life of rhizobia in soil.”

The event is being sponsored by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) and supported by Curtin University, the Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA) and the Perth Convention Bureau.

More details are available from the congress website.

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