Division of Plant Nutrition
The main focus of research is on integrated plant nutrition management in response to the need for ensuring sufficient quantity and quality of production on one hand and protection of the environment on the other. Great importance is also given to the economic use of fertilizers.
Intensively studied is uptake of different forms of nutrients (with the main focus on nitrogen), and their utilization by plants. In order to develop new methods of plant nutrition and fertilization basic research on mechanisms of nutrient uptake (particularly nitrogen) by roots and leaves, their translocation, reutilization and utilization in the process of building yield is performed under both favourable and stressful environmental conditions. The modern way forward is to tackle the use of plant hormones and synthetic growth substances.
Research into soil fertility puts an emphasis on the long-term processes of organic matter transformation in soils. Changes in quantity and quality under various soil and climatic conditions as well as different farming systems are investigated. To this end, methods for assessing the quality of soil organic matter, including methods for evaluating the enzymatic activities of soil microorganisms, are being innovated. A promising area is the use of beneficial soil bacteria in agriculture. For example, new strains of Rhizobium leguminosarum bv. trifolii with a high activity of nitrogenase, suitable for the inoculation of clover, are being explored.
Long-term experiments with organic and mineral fertilization are used to study the long-term effects of various combinations and doses of livestock manure and mineral fertilizers on soil fertility, crop yields and its quality.
The practical outcomes of the research on plant uptake and utilization of nutrients come in the form of proposed measures to reduce the risk of nitrogen loss from soils. Proposed and verified are new technologies and fertilizers that reduce soil and water pollution. Another important direction is research on the mobility of hazardous elements in the soil – plant system and studies of the agro-chemical and biological characteristics of soils contaminated by heavy metals and persistent organic pollutants.
The Division has four departments:
Jan Klír, PhD. – Head of Division