Nitrogen, Microbes, Roots: Breeding Corn for Nitrogen Efficiency and Fixation

This presentation was recorded live at the 2019 Organic Grain Conference, organized by the Land Connection with funding from NIFA OREI. Dr. Walter Goldstein of the Mandaamin Institute discusses his work on breeding corn with high protein quality and N efficiency/Nitrogen (N2) fixation, and ongoing efforts to test the hybrids on organic farms. According to Dr. Goldstein, the basis for N efficiency and protein quality in the Mandaamin Institute cultivars appear to be due to shifts in root efficiency, microbial relationships and metabolism. These may be based on the corn plant’s responses to reducing fertilization, including fostering beneficial plant/microbial partnerships. Results indicate the potential and importance of breeding under organic conditions.

The Organic Grain Conference 2019 theme was theme was “Exploring advancements and issues in organic grain farming, together.” Over 30 presenters and panelists delivered sessions on organic grain production, marketing, transition, certification, and emerging research. Twenty-two companies gathered at the trade show, and over 185 farmers, researchers, educators, and industry members attended.

Download the 2019 conference proceedings at

The conference program is available at

Published July 1, 2019

This is an eOrganic article and was reviewed for compliance with National Organic Program regulations by members of the eOrganic community. Always check with your organic certification agency before adopting new practices or using new materials. For more information, refer to eOrganic's articles on organic certification.