Nitrogen Challenges and Opportunities for Agricultural and Environmental Science in India

Andrea Móring, Sunila Hooda, Nandula Raghuram, Tapan Kumar Adhya, Altaf Ahmad, Sanjoy K. Bandyopadhyay, Tina Barsby, Gufran Beig, Alison R. Bentley, Arti Bhatia, Ulrike Dragosits, Julia Drewer, John Foulkes, Sachin D. Ghude, Rajeev Gupta, Niveta Jain, Dinesh Kumar, R. Mahender Kumar, Jagdish K. Ladha, Pranab Kumar MandalC. N. Neeraja, Renu Pandey, Himanshu Pathak, Pooja Pawar, Till K. Pellny, Philip Poole, Adam Price, D. L. N. Rao, David S. Reay, N. K. Singh, Subodh Kumar Sinha, Rakesh K. Srivastava, Peter Shewry, Jo Smith, Claudia E. Steadman, Desiraju Subrahmanyam, Kuchi Surekha, Karnam Venkatesh, Varinderpal-Singh, Aimable Uwizeye, Massimo Vieno, Mark A. Sutton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

In the last six decades, the consumption of reactive nitrogen (Nr) in the form of fertilizer in India has been growing rapidly, whilst the nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) of cropping systems has been decreasing. These trends have led to increasing environmental losses of Nr, threatening the quality of air, soils, and fresh waters, and thereby endangering climate-stability, ecosystems, and human-health. Since it has been suggested that the fertilizer consumption of India may double by 2050, there is an urgent need for scientific research to support better nitrogen management in Indian agriculture. In order to share knowledge and to develop a joint vision, experts from the UK and India came together for a conference and workshop on “Challenges and Opportunities for Agricultural Nitrogen Science in India.” The meeting concluded with three core messages: (1) Soil stewardship is essential and legumes need to be planted in rotation with cereals to increase nitrogen fixation in areas of limited Nr availability. Synthetic symbioses and plastidic nitrogen fixation are possibly disruptive technologies, but their potential and implications must be considered. (2) Genetic diversity of crops and new technologies need to be shared and exploited to reduce N losses and support productive, sustainable agriculture livelihoods. (3) The use of leaf color sensing shows great potential to reduce nitrogen fertilizer use (by 10–15%). This, together with the usage of urease inhibitors in neem-coated urea, and better management of manure, urine, and crop residues, could result in a 20–25% improvement in NUE of India by 2030.
Original languageEnglish
Article number505347
JournalFrontiers in Sustainable Food Systems
Publication statusPublished - 18 Feb 2021


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