Using arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi to improve nutrient and water-use-efficiency of rice production (PhD top up)

The University of Adelaide

  • Project code: PRO-017382

  • Project stage: Current

  • Project start date: Sunday, November 26, 2023

  • Project completion date: Saturday, August 29, 2026

  • National Priority: RIC-Strengthened industry capacity


Climate change has led to an increase in abiotic stresses such as drought, heat, and extreme temperatures on plant growth and productivity. Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi are beneficial fungi also known as bio-fertilisers and have been applied to mitigate abiotic stresses on plants in the context of sustainable agriculture.  AM fungi can associate with the roots of more than 80% of terrestrial plant species. Their association with rice roots has been shown to improve resilience of aerobically grown rice to nutrient and water stress. Micronutrients such as zinc (Zn) and iron (Fe) are critical for proper human immune function and increasing the bioavailable levels of micronutrients level in rice (known as biofortification) is one way to provide more nutritious grain to solve the malnutrition issue in the world.
In Australia, there is a large amount of agricultural soils have been weathered significantly, resulting in the depletion of essential nutrients in the soil, especially P and Zn. Simultaneously, climate change results in water shortages in agriculture production, especially in rice production. AM fungi are naturally abundant in Australian soils, but the potential to exploit AM fungi in aerobic rice production has not been explored in an Australian context.
My PhD project investigates the functions of AM fungi on rice yield, micronutrient uptakes such as Zn and Fe, and water use efficiency in aerobic rice production, with a focus on Australian rice varieties. The results will inform the improvement of cereal micronutrient bioavailability for a growing global population.



Research Organisation

The University of Adelaide