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Ramadoss Dhanushkodi

Doctor of Philosophy, (Plant Biology)
Study Completed: 2018
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
Drought stress responses of the Medicago truncatula - Ensifer meliloti symbiosis on nodule senescence and nitrogen fixation

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Most plants require nitrogen fertiliser to grow optimally, however legumes such as soybean and white clover can make their own nitrogen fertiliser in symbiosis with a soil bacterium in a process called symbiotic nitrogen fixation. However, this symbiosis is broken down during periods of drought. Mr Dhanushkodi researched how drought stress affects symbiotic nitrogen fixation and found that two plant proteins are involved in the regulation of the breakdown of the symbiosis. These proteins make sure the breakdown occurs in an organised way, such that the nitrogen compounds can be produced for as long as possible. He also found that the symbiosis provides some protection to plants grown in periods of drought. His research will help breeders to select for legume varieties that grow better during periods of water shortage and may help maximise the positive effects of symbiotic nitrogen fixation such as reduced artificial nitrogen fertiliser use.

Associate Professor Paul Dijkwel
Professor Cory Matthew

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