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    Reducing shade avoidance responses in a cereal crop

    Sun-loving plants react to changes in light quality caused by neighbouring plants via “shade avoidance” responses, including vertical elongation, upward orientation of leaves and reduced branching/tillering. Such responses are favoured by natural selection because they increase the fitness of individuals, but they can be disadvantageous for crops because they reduce the allocation of resources to […] More

  • Schematic overview of possible direct and indirect modes of increased phosphorus (P) uptake in cereal/legume intercropping.

    Crop acquisition of phosphorus, iron and zinc in intercropping (Review)

    Phosphorus (P), iron (Fe) and zinc (Zn) are essential elements for plant growth and development but their availability in soil is often limited. Xue et al. review the processes regulating the acquisition of these nutrients from soil and translocation to grains in cereal/legume intercropping systems. While cereals facilitate Fe/Zn uptake by legumes, there is no […] More

  • Image: Scene from a mural in the tomb of Sennedjem, Egypt.

    A nod in the right direction?

    Congratulations are in order to the John Innes Centre (Norwich, UK) for its recent award of nearly US$10m ‘to test the feasibility of developing cereal crops capable of fixing nitrogen as an environmentally-sustainable approach for small farmers in sub-Saharan Africa to increase maize yields’. The funding – curiously, for 5 years and 1 month – […] More