The Footprint of Agriculture and the Challenge of Feeding the World

Trinity Gateway Theatre, Trinity College, The University of Melbourne, Royal Parade, Parkville


Please note: This event will commence at 6.00pm and light refreshments will be provided following the session.

The world’s human population has exceeded 7.7 billion and is expected to reach 10 billion by 2050. At the same time, the demand for food is expected to increase by 60–110%.

This presentation will explore the consequences of the necessary intensification of global agricultural production for land use, use of water resources, carbon balance, and the nitrogen cycle. The global nitrogen pollution crisis will receive special emphasis.

The roles of research and innovation, and of human dietary habits and behaviour, in improving sustainability of production in the world’s agricultural fields will be explored. We will ask what the carrying capacity of Earth for the human population might be, from the perspective of food production and consumption.

This session will be presented by Professor Herbert J. Kronzucker. Professor Kronzucker is a Full Professor and the Head of School of Agriculture and Food in the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Melbourne. He also holds a Distinguished Professorship at the University of Toronto and is an Honorary Professor at Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

Professor Kronzucker is the founder and former Director of the Canadian Centre for World Hunger Research and is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Plant Physiology (Elsevier).  He obtained his Ph.D. in Botany from the University of British Columbia, Canada. He has held a Rockefeller ‘Human Frontier’ Fellowship at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines and Professorships at the University of Western Ontario and the University of Toronto in Canada. From 2017-2018, he led the School of BioSciences at the University of Melbourne and, in 2018, was appointed to the leadership of the University’s School of Agriculture and Food.

Prof. Kronzucker’s research is on plant nutrition and ion transport in the world’s major cereal crops, in particular rice, with a focus on plant nitrogen relations, potassium homeostasis, sodium toxicity, micronutrients, and silicon. His primary work has been published in the premier international venues, including Nature, Nature Plants, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA), and Trends in Plant Science, and has been prolifically featured in the popular media. He has won many prestigious awards, including a Canada Research Chair, a lifetime achievement award from Laval University, and a Bayer Science for a Better Life Award.