Dr. Sarah Beebout
Sarah ’s current research is focused on increasing the amount of zinc that is taken up by rice plants, for the purposes of human and plant nutrition. Zinc is an important micronutrient for both plants and humans, and its deficiency in the soil can result in poor grain yields for farmers and in less nutritious rice for consumers. The zinc that is naturally present in the soil becomes less available to plants after the flooding of a typical rice field. The grower can improve plant zinc uptake by allowing the surface of the soil to dry for a short time and by adding appropriate zinc-containing fertilizers. Dr. Beebout’s research group is working to provide accurate recommendations to growers working in a wide variety of environmental conditions so that they can cost-effectively grow larger quantities of more nutritious rice. Sarah’s work also supports the HarvestPlus zinc biofortification program, which aims to develop more nutritious rice varieties through advanced plant breeding techniques. The soil science research helps to explain the effect of the growing environment on the ability of the new types of rice to have consistently higher amounts of zinc in their grain.
Sarah’s research interests also include some of the other chemical changes that happen in the soil when it is alternately flooded and dried during typical rice growing cycles. Some of these include varying decomposition of rice straw, production of greenhouse gases, and changes in form and plant availability of other elements in soil, such as iron, sulfur, and cadmium.
Sarah’s primarily responsibility as Deputy Division Head for the Crop and Environmental Sciences Division is to support and guide the division’s risk management and quality assurance program.
- PhD 2004, (soil science), Cornell University (USA)
- MSc 1999, (soil chemistry), Texas A&M University (USA)
- BS 1997, (chemistry), Wheaton College (USA)
- Scientist, Soil Chemistry, IRRI (2009-present)
- International Research Fellow, IRRI (2005-2008)
- Post-doctoral Fellow, IRRI (2004-2005)
Selected recent publications
- Johnson-Beebout, S.E., O.R. Angeles, M.C.R. Alberto, and R.J. Buresh. 2009. Simultaneous minimization of nitrous oxide and methane emission from rice paddy soils is improbable due to redox potential changes with depth in a greenhouse experiment without plants. Geoderma 149:45–53.
- Johnson-Beebout, S.E., J.G. Lauren, and J.M. Duxbury. 2009. Immobilization of zinc fertilizer in flooded soils monitored by adapted DTPA soil test. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis 40(11/12):1842-1861.
- Bijay-Singh, Shan YH, Johnson-Beebout SE, Yadvinder-Singh, Buresh RJ. 2008. Crop residue management for lowland rice-based cropping systems in Asia. Advances in Agronomy 98:117–199.
- Cabiles, D.M.S., O.R. Angeles, S.E. Johnson-Beebout, P.B. Sanchez, and R.J. Buresh. 2008. Faster residue decomposition of brittle stem rice mutant due to finer breakage during threshing. Soil & Tillage Research 98:211–216.
- Shan, Y., Z. Cai, Y. Hong, S.E. Johnson, and R.J. Buresh. 2008. Organic acid accumulation under flooded soil conditions in relation to the incorporation of wheat and rice straws with different C:N ratios. Soil Science and Plant Nutrition 54:46–56.
- Johnson, S.E., O.R. Angeles, D.S. Brar, and R.J. Buresh. 2006. Faster anaerobic decomposition of a brittle straw rice mutant: Implications for residue management. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 38:1880-1892.
- Johnson, S.E., and R.H. Loeppert. 2006. Role of organic acids in phosphate mobilization from iron oxide. Soil Science Society of America Journal 70:222-234.
- Angeles, O.R., S.E. Johnson, and R.J.Buresh. 2006. Soil solution sampling for organic acids in rice paddy soils. Soil Science Society of America Journal 70:48-56.
- Johnson, S.E., J.G. Lauren, R.M. Welch, and J.M. Duxbury. 2005. A comparison of the effects of micronutrient seed priming and soil fertilization on the mineral nutrition of chickpea (Cicer arietinum), lentil (Lens culinaris), rice (Oryza sativa), and wheat (Triticum aestivum) in Nepal. Experimental Agriculture 41:427-448.