Seed World

Researchers Study Diversity Among Nitrogen-Fixing Plants

Researchers at California’s Chapman University and Columbia University in New York are focusing on a question that has intrigued scientists for decades — are plants able to regulate their relationships with nitrogen-fixing bacteria?
Some groups of plants have mutually beneficial relationships with soil bacteria that convert atmospheric nitrogen into a form that plants can use. In exchange for nitrogen, an essential element for plant growth, the plant provides the bacteria with sugar. Because the nitrogen comes at a cost to plants, maintaining relationships with bacteria may not be economical under conditions of high soil nitrogen availability.
“This is the first time anyone has critically evaluated the types of strategies that nitrogen-fixing plant species have,” says Jennifer Funk, Ph.D., associate professor at Chapman University.
More information is available at: