Recognizing Plant Direct authors: Lester Botoman

Lester Botoman, first author of Increasing zinc concentration in maize grown under contrasting soil types in Malawi through agronomic biofortification: Trial protocol for a field experiment to detect small effect sizes

Current Position: PhD student, Crop and Soil Sciences Department, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR)

Education: MSc. Soil Science, Ehime University, Japan; BSc. Agronomy, University of Malawi

Non-scientific Interests: reading, listening to music, watching soccer

Brief bio: My interest in plant and soil sciences started back in 2007 when I was an undergraduate student at Bunda College, University of Malawi (now LUANAR). Since then, my interest about the field has kept growing.  Driven by a passion to understand the plant-soil interactions, I joined the Department of Agricultural Research Services (DARS) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security in 2011, as an Agricultural Research Scientist. In that role, I was responsible for conducting research in soil fertility management and plant nutrition. The journey enabled me to pursue MSc degree in Soil Science, majoring in Soil Chemistry, where the focus was to understand the mechanism and role of soil constituents in adsorption of micronutrients.  In 2018, I joined the Crop and Soil Sciences Department of Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) as a PhD student. The focus of my PhD research work—which is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) project, GeoNutrition—is to understand the role of agronomic biofortification in improving maize (Zea mays L.) grain zinc quality for improved human nutrition.