The Plant and Soil Science Section embraces research groups in plant breeding, plant nutrition and soil fertility. Spanning molecule to ecosystem level, the activities within the Section focus on plant-environment interactions and soil processes which are fundamental drivers for development of future systems for sustainable production of food and bio-materials.
New methods and technologies for study of mineral nutrient acquisition, plant nutritional metabolomics, isotope fingerprints, gas exchange, plant-induced rhizosphere modifications, soil nutrient bioavailability, fertilizer utilization and recycling of nutrients in organic waste are developed.
Molecular markers that can be used as a basis for marker-assisted breeding of crop genotypes with improved nutritional quality, nutrient use efficiency, resistance towards fungi and tolerance towards adverse soil conditions are derived based on gene sequencing, gene mapping and quantitative genetic approaches. By delivering new fundamental knowledge that within a fairly short period can be implemented in novel plant breeding strategies, the research activities contribute to the development of new climate- and resource-efficient genotypes.
With respect to soil processes, carbon sequestration, nutrient cycling and turn-over of organic matter are at the center, forming an integrated part of projects dealing with sustainable waste recycling and utilization of natural resources, anthropogenic changes in agricultural and urban element cycling, greenhouse gas emissions and land use change. This will have great potential, both in industrialized countries with intensive agricultural production and in developing countries where the section already has significant research activities.