Wetenschap - 18 november 2011

European millions for Bisseling

Molecular biologist Ton Bisseling is to receive 2.5 million euros in funding from the European Research Council. He will use the money to continue investigating the symbiosis between leguminous plants and rhizobia bacteria.

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Bisseling’s research group will focus on the Parasponia tree, which extracts nitrogen from the air by means of a symbiosis with the nitrogen-fixing rhizobia bacteria.
Close relatives of the Parasponia, which was discovered years ago in New Guinea, do not have this characteristic. By comparing them genetically, the molecular biologists hope to discover the mechanism underlying the symbiosis. If they are successful, this mechanism could perhaps be built into agricultural crops. Most crops cannot fix nitrogen from the air and are therefore dependent on fertilizers added to the soil.
 
Rene Geurts, a member of Bisseling’s group, is already working on mapping the genome of the Parasponia and its close relatives. An analysis of the data will follow. Scientists have been pursuing the precise mechanism in nitrogen-fixing plants for about 100 years. Coincidentally, Geurts published an article on this research in the scientific journal Nature yesterday.
Bisseling's research group will focus on the Parasponia tree, which extracts nitrogen from the air by means of a symbiosis with the nitrogen-fixing rhizobia bacteria.
Close relatives of the Parasponia, which was discovered years ago in New Guinea, do not have this characteristic. By comparing them genetically, the molecular biologists hope to discover the mechanism underlying the symbiosis. If they are successful, this mechanism could perhaps be built into agricultural crops. Most crops cannot fix nitrogen from the air and are therefore dependent on fertilizers added to the soil.
 Rene Geurts, a member of Bisseling's group, is already working on mapping the genome of the Parasponia and its close relatives. An analysis of the data will follow. Scientists have been pursuing the precise mechanism in nitrogen-fixing plants for about 100 years. Coincidentally, Geurts published an article on this research in the scientific journal Nature yesterday.
 

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