Research Fellows Directory
Dr Rahul Bhosale
University of Nottingham
Food security represents a pressing global issue as crop production has to double by 2050 to keep pace with the global population growth. This target is even more challenging given the impact of climate change on water availability and the drive to reduce fertiliser inputs to make agriculture environmentally sustainable. An important solution in this direction is to develop crops with improved water and nutrient uptake efficiency and I am particularly interested in understanding plant traits and adaptive responses that critically influence nutrient and water foraging. For example, root hair (RH) length impacts the efficient acquisition of macronutrients such as phosphate and nitrate and may also function to reduce water loss. RH formation is suggested to be suppressed on the side of the root in contact moisture, whereas it is enhanced on the root side exposed to air. This novel RH patterning phenomenon termed "Hydropatterning", appears to be an adaptive mechanism designed to trap moisture and avoid water loss on the dry side of roots. As part of this Fellowship, I will initially image this RH response directly in soil using a state-of-the-art micro-scale computed tomography (microCT) facility at the Sutton-Bonington campus of the University of Nottingham. Next, I will determine the molecular mechanism(s) that regulate the formation of this asymmetric pattern of RH. Finally, I will directly test the adaptive advantage that RH hydropatterning confers on plants exposed to water stress by employing mutants defective for this response.
Interests and expertise (Subject groups)