|We (Comfort and Ashenafi) had the opportunity to participate in a 13th European Nitrogen Fixation Conference and a side by side Satellite Workshops from 18-21 August 2018 at München-Bryggeriet in Stockholm, Sweden. We presented our works by a poster (Ashenafi) and pitch speech (Comfort) at the Conference. It was a great opportunity for us to introduce ourselves and works to high-level profile professionals in the field of nitrogen fixation and share their experiences and expertise.
We have learnt that most of the works presented focused on understanding signalling mechanisms and evolutions of symbiosis formation and nitrogen fixation; structural organization and functionality of nitrogenase enzymes that is responsible for nitrogen fixation; transforming symbiosis formation and nitrogen fixation traits to none-legume or none-nitrogen fixing plants. Besides legume-rhizobium symbiosis, several other forms of symbiotic and non-symbiotic nitrogen fixation forms including symbiotic nitrogen fixation in aquatic ecosystems, in arctic environment, in mosses, in free living bacteria and cyanobacteria and in symbiotic fungi were presented. We have seen that this community has accumulated a huge knowledge of basic and applied aspects of symbiotic nitrogen fixation.
We recognized that the conference failed to prevail nitrogen fixation applications beyond the sophisticated lab and greenhouse works to solve soil nitrogen limitation problems of resource poor farmers. However, Peter Ebanyat’s N2Africa work presentation signalled a fantastic home take message to the audience. With this regard, our involvement in research for tackling problems related to inoculants and their quality as well as screening elite strains for inoculant redesigning would mean a lot and need to be promoted. As a project, N2Africa was well credited for putting nitrogen fixation to work in small holder farmers. The final panel discussion, chaired by Eva Kondorosi, delivered a strong home take message that EU parliament should support nitrogen fixation projects and Tom Bisseling (Panel member from Molecular biology lab of WUR) delivered a strong message for the audience to work on short term plan to make biological nitrogen fixation work in fields.
Ojo Comfort Tinuade and Ashenafi Hailu Gunnabo, Wageningen University & Research, The Netherlands