Western Kentucky University

Research Projects

Photograph: Sahi Lab Presentation, 2011

REU Project 2—Plant Biotechnological approaches to remove excess phosphorus (P) from contaminated soils—Dr. Shivendra Sahi, Biology Department

Poultry waste is a major problem in the southeastern part of the USA because of concentrated poultry production. Its use as a low-cost fertilizer has led to excessive accumulations of P quantities in soils. Soluble P run-off is a major concern. Over-expression of a gene product may be an effective way to develop crops, which would uptake excess amounts of P from soils. Recently we have found a few grasses that seem to accumulate high concentration of P in their shoots, and we are in process of cloning the genes that are responsible for increased up-take of P. Our goal is to develop transgenic alfalfa using these genes and to use genetically modified crops to tackle excess P problems in soils. We believe that remediation of excess phosphates from soil using this technique may help in conservation of aquatic environment.

Related Publications:

  1. Starnes*, D., Priya P, and S. V. Sahi. Effect of P sources on growth, P accumu-lation and activities of phytase and acid phosphatases in two cultivars of annual ryegrass (Lolium multi-florum L.) Plant Physiol. Biochem. 46, 580-589 (2008);
  2. Sharma, N., D. Starnes*, S. V. Sahi. Phytoex-traction of excess soil phosphorus. Environ. Poll. 146, 120-127 (2007).

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