Phosphorus is an essential compound for wheat growth. Due to massive phosphorus fertilizer applications from the 60’s to the mid 80’s, phosphorus availability from the soil is, nowadays, not a major issue for bread wheat in most Western European countries. Nevertheless, recent studies demonstrated that it could become a real threat for wheat production by 2030 because of the constant decrease of fertilizer applications. Indeed, it has been several years that the phosphorus inputs are lower than exports (harvested crop organs), causing a serious depletion of available phosphorus concentrations in the soil. So, it is time to prepare the needs for a higher Phosphorus Use Efficiency (PUE), because it is unlikely that the fertilizer applications will rise again, due to the economic weakness of many staple crop farms. Like many agronomic issues, enhancing PUE will need to activate many levers. One of them is the improvement of the genetic component of PUE. No significant research project on the genetic of bread wheat PUE has been conducted in Europe during the last 40 years. The PGEN-BW project proposes to fill this gap.
Project leader: Raffaella Maria Balestrini
IPSP personnel: Fabiano Sillo