Nitrogen is the most important nutrient plants take up from soil.
Nitrate and ammonium are the two dominant forms of Nitrogen sources in the natural environment. Uptake of nitrate and ammonium will change the pH inside root cells and also the rhizosphere.
Yi’s research is mainly focused on how plants regulate the uptake and homeostasis of different Nitrogen sources, and then adjust the pH balance accordingly.
These changes could also affect uptake and transport of other nutritional and toxic elements, such as Zn, Cd and As.
Yi is also interested in monitoring the nitrate status in the soil. Using a nitrate selective soil sensor developed in their lab, they are able to perform real-time measurement of nitrate concentrations up to several weeks. This method was used to compare different Nitrogen schemes in the field trials.