This volume covers recent developments in both fundamental and applied research in biological nitrogen fixation. It emphasizes the application of biological nitrogen fixation for sustainable agriculture, which should lead to poverty alleviation, environmental protection, and good agricultural practices generally. The roles of, and advances in, plant breeding, plant molecular biology, nodule physiology, and symbiotic and associative interactions between plants and microbes in sustaining agricultural productivity and soil fertility are described. The evolution of symbioses and nitrogen fixation are also covered in this volume. To ensure high agricultural productivity, while protecting the environment (both soil and water resources), requires plant cultivars that also respond to beneficial microbes. The volume, therefore, describes the physiology and genomics of nitrogen-fixing bacteria together with the biochemistry and molecular genetics of the nitrogenase enzyme that actually fixes atmospheric nitrogen to a usable form. This volume, which covers the most recent data on the role of nitrogen fixation in agriculture and forestry and on the biology of both plants and nitrogen-fixing microbes, is intended to serve as a useful reference for students and researchers, both in the laboratory (academic and commercial) and in the field.
Poverty is a severe problem in Africa, Asia, South America and even in pockets of the developed world. Addressing poverty alleviation via the expanded use of biological nitrogen fixation in agriculture was the theme of the 15th International Congress on Nitrogen Fixation. Because nitrogen-fixation research is multidisciplinary, exploiting its benefits for agriculture and environmental protection has continued to attract research by diverse groups of scientists, including chemists, biochemists, plant physiologists, evolutionary biologists, ecologists, agricultural scientists, extension agents, and inoculant producers. The 15th International Congress on Nitrogen Fixation was held jointly with the 12th International Conference of the African Association for Biological Nitrogen Fixation. This joint Congress was hosted in South Africa at the Cape Town International Conv- tion Centre, 21-26 January 2007, and was attended by about 200 registered participants from 41 countries world-wide. During the Congress, some 100 oral and approximately 80 poster papers were presented. The wide range of topics covered and the theme of the Congress justifies this book's title, Nitrogen Fixation: Applications to Poverty Alleviation.
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