Submitted to: New Phytologist
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/26/2002
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: The world is on the brink of a new agriculture, one that involves the marriage of plant biology and agroecology under the umbrella of biotechnology and germplasm improvement. Although P fertilizers will continue to play a major role in intensive agriculture, depletion of natural resources, loss of biodiversity, and long-term unsustainability necessitate alternative strategies be investigated and implemented to buffer against food insecurity and environmental degradation. Furthermore, because improved P use by plants has immediate and direct benefit in extensive agriculture in developing countries where access to fertilizers is limited, funding for research at international centers should be a high priority. The following recommendations deserve attention: 1) expand research in root biology; 2) continue to isolate, characterize, and develop a fundamental understanding of individual genes holding promise for application to improving P nutrition; 3) enhance the expression of genes and increase the synthesis of gene products, like those involved in transport of nutrients and exudation of organic acids, through transgenic technology and incorporate these traits into adapted germplasm; and 4) reemphasize applied research programs directed toward sustainable approaches to enhancing soil P through crop management (such as intercropping, rotations, and incorporation of legumes).