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Euan James

Staff picture: Euan James
Ecological Sciences
Ecological Sciences
Research Assistant
+44 (0)344 928 5428 (*)

The James Hutton Institute
Dundee DD2 5DA
Scotland UK


I completed my PhD in Biological Sciences at the University of Dundee in 1990, and then over the next 10 years worked as a consultant in Brazil and the Philippines where I specialised in the localisation of N-fixing bacteria in sugarcane and rice using electron microscopy.

During my time in Brazil I also gained a strong interest in the legume-rhizobial symbioses, particularly their role in tropical ecosystems and agriculture, and co-wrote a NERC-funded project at the University of St Andrews on the functioning of legume symbioses in the Brazilian Pantanal wetlands.

My position prior to joining the James Hutton Institute was as an electron microscopist at the University of Dundee College of Life Sciences, where I also acted as Principal Investigator on a NERC-funded project “In search of beta-rhizobia: exploring the symbionts of Mimosa in Brazil.”

Current research interests

Plant electron microscopy: the ultrastructure of beneficial plant-bacterial interactions. I also specialise in immunolocalisation of both conventionally (chemically)- and cryo-fixed plant material.

Nitrogen fixation by legumes: Currently measuring biological nitrogen fixation (BNF) by field beans (Vicia faba) in an experimental rotation at the Centre for Sustainable Cropping (CSC), Balruddery Farm. This work is funded by the EU FP7 project Legume Futures.

Nitrogen fixation by non-legumes: I have recently edited a Special Issue of Plant and Soil on The role of biological nitrogen fixation by non-legumes in the sustainable production of food and biofuels. It includes 20 papers that were presented at the 12th International Symposium on Biological Nitrogen Fixation (BNF) with Non-Legumes which was held in Buzios, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from 3-8 October 2010.

Past research

Identified the nature of the O2 regulation mechanism in legume nodules using electron microscopy.

Identified the mechanisms that allow flooding-tolerant legumes to fix N whilst flooded in both tropical and temperate ecosystems.

Confirmed the endophytic nature of several species of N-fixing bacteria in sugarcane and rice using light and electron microscopy.

Showed that a completely “new” (actually ancient) type of symbiont existed in legume nodules in tropical ecosystems that was unrelated to Rhizobium. These symbionts are now termed “Beta-rhizobia”.


  • Iannetta, P.P.M.; Begg, G.; Black, K.; Hawes, C.; Karley, A.j.; James, E.K.; Maluk, M.; Newton, A.; Squire, G.R.; Walker, G.; White, P. (2017) Teaming up for good: intercropping and farming-science partnership at the James Hutton Institute., NGO Report for, 8 November 2017.
  • Iannetta, P.P.M.; Begg, G.; Black, K.; Hawes, C.; Karley, A.J.; James, E.K.; Maluk, M.; Newton, A.C.; Squire, G.R.; Walker, G.; White, P.J. (2017) Sustainable legume systems for improved primary produce., SAB Annual Report, May 2017.
  • Squire, G.R.; Begg, G.S.; Hawes, C.; Iannetta, P.P.M.; James, E.K.; Karley, A.J.; Young, M.W. (2011) Scotland's wild arable plants., Annual Report of the Scottish Crop Research Institute for 2010, pp21-23.

  • Carmona, M.; Lafos, M.; Maluk, M.; Batista, M.B.; Junghare, M.; Faoro, H.; Magalhães, L.; Battistoni, F.J.; Souza, E.M.; Pedrosa, F.O.; Chen, W.M.; Prasad, G.; Poole, P.S.; Dixon, R.A.; James, E.K. (2018) Comparative genomics reveals Azoarcus comprises three genera: Azoarcus sensu stricto, Aromatoleum gen. nov. and Gallonia gen. nov., XVI Symposium on Biological Nitrogen Fixation with Non-Legumes and IV LatinAmerican Workshop of PGPR. Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil, 26 August - 1 September 2018. Book of Abstracts, Short Note II.V, pp39.
  • Black, K.; Walker, G.; White, P.J.; Maluk, M.; Squire, G.R.; James, E.K.; Iannetta, P.P.M. (2016) Intercropping: pea supported production of barley for brewing and distilling., In: Abstracts of the British Ecological Society Annual Meeting, Liverpool, 11-14 December 2016. Conference paper and presentation
  • Black, K.; Walker, G.; White, P.J.; Karley, A.; Ramsay, L.; Ramsay, G.; James, E.K.; Squire, G.R.; Iannetta, P.P.M. (2016) Mainstream pulses: exploring local solutions to supply chain limitations., 2nd Conference of the International Legume Society, Legumes for a Sustainable World, Tróia, Portugal, 11-14 October 2016. Conference paper and presentation.
  • Iannetta, P.P.M.; Karley, A.; Ramsay, L.; Ramsay, G.; James, E.K.; Squire, G.R. (2016) Sustainable and profitable protein production using faba bean., 14th Congress of the European Society of Agronomy, in association with Association of Applied Biologists, Edinburgh, Scotland, 5-9 September 2016. Conference paper and presentation.
  • James, E.K.; Lopez del Egido, L.; Maluk, M.; Young, M.; Hawes, C.; Squire, G.R.; Iannetta, P.P.M. (2016) Nitrogen fixation by faba bean (Vicia faba L.) in a 4 year crop rotation in East Scotland., 12th European Nitrogen Fixation Congress, Budapest, Hungary, 25-28 August 2016. (Conference paper, presentation and poster).
  • Iannetta, P.P.M.; Begg, G.; James, E.K.; Smith, B.; Davies, C.; Karley, A.J.; Lopez del Egido, L.; Hawes, C.; Young, M.; Ramsay, G.; Birch, A.N.E.; Valentine, T.A.; Warburton-Brown, C.; Goldring, A.; Hughes, T.; Sprent, J.; Wolfe, M.; Rees, R.M. (2013) Sustainable intensification: a pivotal role for legume supported cropped systems., AAB/BeS-AeG Rethinking Farmed Systems in the UK, St. Catherine’s College University of Oxford, 18-19 December 2013. Co-organiser/Invited speaker. Aspects Applied Biology 121, 73-82.
  • James, E.K.; Iannetta, P.P.M.; Doherty, S.; Young, M.W.; Hawes, C.; Squire, G.R.; (2012) Biological nitrogen fixation (BNF) by faba bean at the Centre for Sustainable Cropping (CSC), Dundee, Scotland., 10th European Nitrogen Fixation Conference. Munich, 2-5 September 2012.
  • Young, M.W.; Hawes, C.; Iannetta, P.P.M.; James, E.K.; Karley, A.J.; Squire, G.R. (2011) Increasing the sustainability of arable yield and reducing the dependence on chemical N fertilisers., Aspects of Applied Biology, Agricultural Ecology Research: Its role in delivering sustainable farm systems, Dundee, 15-16 June 2011, 109, pp81-86.
  • James, E.K.; Iannetta, P.P.M.; Squire, G.R. (2010) Nodulation of agriculturally and ecologically important legumes in East Scotland by Rhizobium leguminosarum bv. vicieae., Nitrogen and Global Change Conference, Edinburgh International Conference Centre, 11-14 April 2010.
  • Osei, Y.; James, E.K.; Iannetta, P.P.M.; Squire, G.R.; Sprent, J.I.; Huss-Danell, K. (2009) Nitrogen fixation and genetic diversity of rhizobia nodulating native legumes in Sweden., 16th International Nitrogen Fixation Congress, Montana USA, 14-19 June 2009.
  • Iannetta, P.P.M.; James, E.K.; Thow, G.; Minchin, F.R.; Simpson, C.G.; Sprent, J.I.; Williamson, B. (1998) Immunolocalisation of polygalacturonase-inhibiting protein (PGIP) in white lupin., Proceedings of 8th Scottish Cell Wall Group Meeting, Dundee, 8-9 April 1998, 6.

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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.