Dr Eloise Foo, co-winner of the Royal Society of Tasmania M.R. Banks Medal 2019, will present this M.R. Banks Medal Lecture.
Plants need nitrogen, which is abundant in the atmosphere; however, they can't absorb it that way. This is why most gardeners and commercial growers add nitrogen fertiliser to their soils. Dr Foo is working on understanding how bacteria work with some plants to draw nitrogen out of the air and make it available to the plant. Importantly this very specialised plant–bacteria relationship shares similarities with another much more widespread plant–fungi association to access phosphate, another important nutrient for plant growth. By understanding both the differences and similarities, her team hopes to expand plant-bacterial associations into major crops.
In this talk Dr Foo will take you on a journey into the wonderful world of plant-microbe symbioses and reveal some of the key communication and control mechanisms plants use to make sure these relationships are happy ones!