The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and the National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB) under the Cambridge-India Network for Translational Research in Nitrogen (CINTRIN) have used nitrogen in enhancing yields in cereal crops.

The research organisations have developed a technology that will not only increase yield, but will also reduce greenhouse emissions and make farming more profitable and sustainable.

The project – which also includes the Department of Plant Sciences and Sainsbury Laboratory, the University of Cambridge, the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), the National Institute of Plant Genome Research (NIPGR), India, ADAS UK Ltd. and agri-IT specialist KisanHub – aims to promote a new understanding of the science associated with optimisation of crop nitrogen use. This will be built on exciting discoveries in model plant species, which have the potential to revolutionise approaches to the nitrogen requirement of crops.

Dr. Rajeev Gupta, Principal Scientist at ICRISAT leading the Indian team of CINTRIN, explained, “The natural variation for nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) will be studied in diverse germ plasm of wheat, sorghum, pearl millet and foxtail millet.”

“The findings will be applied to develop new breeding lines with enhanced NUE. CINTRIN will also use model plants such as Arabidopsis and Brachypodium for basic research which will be translated into crops in the future,” added Dr. Gupta.

NIAB Director of Genetics and Breeding, Dr. Alison Bentley, commented, “The CINTRIN partners will translate developmental biology research into innovation in nitrogen use by Indian farmers, by connecting developmental research, crop breeding, agritechnology and extension work. This will be enhanced by easily accessible data-driven methods of technology transfer, developed by India and UK-based company, KisanHub.”