OPTIMIZING NITROGEN USE IN CEREALS UNDER MEDITERRANEAN AGRICULTURE
We will attempt to identify opportunities for increasing cereal efficiency in using N. The project will embrace genotypic and management aspects to maximize productivity while minimizing environmental impacts for improved overall agronomic (environmental and economic) sustainability. The genotypic aspects would aim to understand from genotypic variation to genes responsible for N absorption and utilization; while management studies would mainly focus on effects of fertilization strategies (doses, timings, products) on (i) soil properties and environmental consequences (quantification of N losses in different forms to soil, aquifers and air), (ii) plant responses in metabolism and physiology, (iii) agronomy performance in general and regarding interactions with pests -and other biological adversities-, and (iv) grain quality in terms of grain composition. Through the integration of research activities of different groups of Agrotecnio we will study the problem across different levels of organization, representing several research areas.
Potential outputs and benefits:
a) knowledge on cereals nitrogen use on a range of levels of organisation (gene, protein, organ, plant, crop and system) in an integrated approach;
b) cereals produced more sustainably: with less environmental damage (environmentally more sustainable) while maintaining high yields (economically sustainable);
c) plants with improved nitrogen use being available for breeding;
d) management recommendations to maximise productivity minimising nitrogen losses,
e) evidences for policymakers regarding actual and potential pollution problems derived from different nitrogen management practices, and propose solutions.