Nitrogen Research

Written by Tony Miller on November 12, 2015


Nitrogen (N) use efficiency is a major issue for agriculture across the world. We now have many molecular tools to address this important topic in new ways. Grass and legume forage crops are harvested when the leaf canopy is fully established and the dried material is an important protein source for animal feed. The challenge for the growers of forage crops is to maintain the protein production with decreased fertilizer inputs to meet new legislation requirements.

Crop protein content depends on the plant receiving sufficient N until harvest. Leaf N is stored as vegetative storage protein a specialised type of cell vacuole. Excess N can also be stored as nitrate in the vacuole. In forage crops these N storage forms are important for both N use efficiency and the final feed value of the dried product. Our research investigates ways to optimise N fertilizer use and protein production in forage crops.




Lab members working on the project

Yi Chen

Nicola Capstaff

Marco Fioratti

Sankar Pilla

Hongxin Sun


Further Reading

Capstaff N. M., Miller A. J. (2018) Improving the Yield and Nutritional Quality of Forage Crops. Frontiers in Plant Science Volume 9, 24 April 2018, Pages 535,

Murray J. D., Liu C. W., Chen Y., Miller A. J. (2016) Nitrogen sensing in legumes. Journal of Experimental Botany Volume 68, 1 April 2017, Pages 1919–1926,