Science of Sustainable Agriculture (SSA)

Kuvaus

PUBLIC DESCRIPTION
We conduct multidisciplinary research and training in an integrated manner in our search for sustainable systems of agricultural production, in order to produce new scientific knowledge and understanding for the benefit of society and to maintain the health and welfare of consumers and our domestic animals.
Plant and animal geneticists and breeders use genomics, genetic mapping and DNA markers to enhance the identification and use of yield- and quality-related genes. Plant scientists investigate the genetics and physiology of flowering and stress tolerance to improve the adaptation of berry and field crops to boreal agriculture. Physics and chemistry are applied to the study of soil processes and to the modelling of crop growth, allowing the prediction of responses to changes of land use and of climate. The boundary between agricultural lands and the natural environment is studied with biophysics, water and soil chemistry, and agroecology.
We aim to modify soil-plant-water-atmosphere relationships, including greenhouse gas (GHG) releases, nutrient leaching into watercourses and deposition in sediments, and carbon sequestration, through the use of biochar, sewage sludge, biomethane digestion residues, animal manure, and green manure. The effects of soil on the release of nutrients, biofortification supplements, and pollutants, their uptake by the crops, crop growth, crop-microbe (both symbiont and pathogen) interactions, and the quality of the crop for food, animal feed, and bioenergy conversion, are followed. Some of this work focuses on acid-sulphate soils that need to be managed with a high water table, with appropriate crops, and with regard to the flow of water into streams.
The production chains of food, feed and energy crops are investigated, and biophysical modelling is applied to achieve both predictive models and a comprehensive “life cycle analysis” of impacts. The nitrogen cycle affects global change and 80% takes place in agriculture, so we follow the capture of nitrogen by bacteria, its passage through soil, plant and animal and back to the soil, seeking a better understanding of the cycle and ways to maximize efficiency.

Responsible person: Frederick Stoddard, Department of Agricultural Sciences

Participation category: 2
TilaKäynnissä
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