Driving out blight with dual control

Combining methods of disease control rather than relying on a single resistance strategy can extend the durability of crops by many years, confirms computer modelling that draws on classical population genetics theory.

Organic phosphorus call to action

A non-renewable resource, phosphorus (P) is essential for crop and food production. However, due to inefficient use and limited global reserves, inorganic P fertilisers will become less economically viable and there are concerns about future supplies and the environmental consequences of mismanagement. Without action, this situation could undermine agricultural productivity and sustainability.

Transforming agriculture

Research seeking ways to increase yields for farmers worldwide has received $45 million to build on pioneering work in plant science to help feed the world

The five-year reinvestment from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), and the UK Department for International Development (DFID) will enable the researchers to continue their work to address the global food challenge.

Research finds roots use chemical ‘photos’ to coordinate growth

Though it may look haphazard, the network of intertwining plant roots snaking through the soil actually represents a deliberate process. Root growth is guided by chemical snapshots taken by the young roots, allowing them to detect obstructions and coordinate the paths they take, new research led by Florida Institute of Technology finds.

Tomatoes’ crystal ball reveals evolutionary secrets

© Michigan State University

Robert Last

Michigan State University‘s (MSU; USA) Robert Last studies tomatoes. Specifically, he researches their hair, or trichomes.

For this study, he focused on a single type of molecule in trichomes – acyl sugars. The secrets Last and a team of MSU scientists found from studying these specialized metabolites open an evolutionary window for the emerging field of plant defence metabolism, insights that could lead to engineering advances for better pest resistance and human medicine.

Digital mapping techniques to improve knowledge of British soils

Soil scientists at the James Hutton Institute are working to create the first unified digital map of soil properties within Great Britain, a development which will contribute to worldwide Global Soil Map projects and improve the data available to researchers and stakeholders in Britain and beyond to be used for many different projects.