Soybean is an economically valuable and nutritious food crop, and one of the most widely cultivated
legume species around the world. Its seeds are rich in protein, which can account for 40% of their
biomass and can be processed into different products for human consumption. They are also high in
oil which can be used for cooking or as a biofuel. Moreover, 88% of legumes can establish a
symbiotic association with specialised soil bacteria called rhizobia that fix atmospheric nitrogen for
their host plant. This relationship reduces the reliance on fertilizer inputs in agriculture. To achieve
this, the host plant forms nodule organs on their roots to house the rhizobia bacteria.
The process
of developing root nodules requires multiple regulators of plant growth and development. This
research project aims to explore the role of a recently identified family of plant peptides called Root
Meristem Growth Factors (RGF). A multidisciplinary approach including cutting-edge molecular
biology techniques will be used to characterize the peptides role in root development and nodule
formation in soybean. The project will gain critical new insight into how peptides control nodule

Funding: UQ Research Training Scholarship

Project members

Yuhan Liu

PHD Candidate
School of Agriculture and Food Sustainability