3 years ago

A seed change in our understanding of legume biology from genomics to the efficient cooperation between nodulation and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi

Christine H. Foyer, Hon‐Ming Lam, Henry T. Nguyen


Grain legumes play a significant role in global food security. They have an advantage over cereals in that they can form symbiotic associations with nitrogen‐fixing bacteria, making them self‐sufficient in terms of nitrogen acquisition. In addition to this superior agronomic trait, grain legumes have excellent nutritional properties and are thus widely used as animal feed as well as in human nutrition. Current global trends towards increased legume consumption and availability of value‐added products, as well as legume production in developing countries require the provision of improved cultivars with better productivity and adaptability. Intensive efforts are thus underway to elaborate genomic resources and gain an improved knowledge base in a number of legume crops. There is also an emerging understanding of the beneficial interactions between legume‐associated organisms, particularly rhizobia and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, which result in improved nodulation and nutrient acquisition. The emerging focus on legume breeding for high sustainable yields as well as improved biotic and abiotic stress tolerance traits will serve to close the current gap between grain legume production and demand. With the support from policymakers, this increase in knowledge can be readily translated into increased crop production to meet the demands of an increasing global population.

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