Several studies have shown that a lack of nitrogen in soils adversely affects crop yields. The modern use of nitrogen fertilizers has improved yields to meet expanding global food demand, but in some cases up to 50 percent of the nitrogen in fertilizers reaches surrounding water bodies in the form of nitrate, causing pollution. As the use of nitrogen fertilizers is rapidly increasing worldwide each year, there is a fundamental need to understand how plants absorb nitrate, and how this absorption can be improved in crops.
Caption: Spot the difference: a subtle difference in structure makes these flavonoid glycosides difficult to tell apart. Image: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew