Recent Advances in Agronomic and Physio-Molecular Approaches for Improving Nitrogen Use Efficiency in Crop Plants

Front Plant Sci. 2022 Apr 29;13:877544. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2022.877544. eCollection 2022.


The efficiency with which plants use nutrients to create biomass and/or grain is determined by the interaction of environmental and plant intrinsic factors. The major macronutrients, especially nitrogen (N), limit plant growth and development (1.5-2% of dry biomass) and have a direct impact on global food supply, fertilizer demand, and concern with environmental health. In the present time, the global consumption of N fertilizer is nearly 120 MT (million tons), and the N efficiency ranges from 25 to 50% of applied N. The dynamic range of ideal internal N concentrations is extremely large, necessitating stringent management to ensure that its requirements are met across various categories of developmental and environmental situations. Furthermore, approximately 60 percent of arable land is mineral deficient and/or mineral toxic around the world. The use of chemical fertilizers adds to the cost of production for the farmers and also increases environmental pollution. Therefore, the present study focused on the advancement in fertilizer approaches, comprising the use of biochar, zeolite, and customized nano and bio-fertilizers which had shown to be effective in improving nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) with lower soil degradation. Consequently, adopting precision farming, crop modeling, and the use of remote sensing technologies such as chlorophyll meters, leaf color charts, etc. assist in reducing the application of N fertilizer. This study also discussed the role of crucial plant attributes such as root structure architecture in improving the uptake and transport of N efficiency. The crosstalk of N with other soil nutrients plays a crucial role in nutrient homeostasis, which is also discussed thoroughly in this analysis. At the end, this review highlights the more efficient and accurate molecular strategies and techniques such as N transporters, transgenes, and omics, which are opening up intriguing possibilities for the detailed investigation of the molecular components that contribute to nitrogen utilization efficiency, thus expanding our knowledge of plant nutrition for future global food security.

PMID:35574130 | PMC:PMC9106419 | DOI:10.3389/fpls.2022.877544


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