Global Agriculture

ISRR Medal Lecture on Root Research shines light into the dark world of roots and soil

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22 November 2021, UK: The 2021 ISRR Dundee Root Medal Lecture and Workshop on “Below Ground Interaction between Plants” took place on the 17th November 2021. This is an annual event for scientists interested in root research and the plant/soil interface.

Hosted by the James Hutton Institute, the meeting was virtual, and this format allowed it to be opened up to a large, international, audience of over 300 interested registrants. Participants included scientists from 44 different countries on all continents except Antarctica, with most people attending from the UK, China, Germany, India and other EU countries. However, there were attendees from as far afield as Uruguay, Nigeria, New Zealand and the Philippines.

The workshop included a variety of engaging talks from China Agricultural University, the James Hutton Institute, and the universities of Aberdeen and Edinburgh, covering a variety of plant interactions below ground in intercropping and natural ecosystems. The talks were supported by posters from the universities of Dundee, Aberdeen, China Agricultural University and John Innes Centre.

The Dundee Medal is presented annually to a scientist who has made an outstanding contribution in the field of root research. This award is a legacy funded by proceeds from the International Society of Root Research Conference (ISRR) which was held in Dundee in 2012 and hosted by the James Hutton Institute.

The 7th recipient of the Dundee Medal for Root Research was Professor Jianbo Shen of the China Agricultural University in Beijing, China. Over the last 30 years, Prof Shen has worked on understanding the role of root-soil interactions and other nature-based solutions in solving the problems of inefficiencies in fertiliser use. His medal lecture was titled “Enhancing root and rhizosphere interactions for sustainable cropping” and focused on the ways in which an understanding root-soil and root-root interactions can enable reduced inputs in agriculture.

The organisers have received positive feedback from registrants who complimented the event on its content and format and would like to say a special thank you to Malcolm Collie for creating the poster room and his invaluable IT support which allowed this event to be such a success.

The Dundee Root Medal Organising Committee comprises Tim George and Philip White of the James Hutton Institute, Glyn Bengough and Blair McKenzie of the University of Dundee and Paul Hallett of the University of Aberdeen, who are assisted by Lawrie Brown of the James Hutton Institute.

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