We found a way to turn urine into solid fertiliser – it could make farming more sustainable

If rolled out worldwide, our method could replace a quarter of all the synthetic nitrogen fertiliser used in agriculture.

Jenna Senecal, Postdoctoral Researcher in Environmental Engineering, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences • conversation
Nov. 6, 2020 ~7 min

agriculture recycling farming nitrogen crops toilets urine phosphorus fertiliser ammonia

When plants and their microbes are not in sync, the results can be disastrous

Just as humans can suffer from an imbalance of microbes in their gut, plants can suffer a similar syndrome in their leaves. This finding opens up new possibilities for improving food security.

Sheng-Yang He, University Distinguished Professor, HHMI Investigator, Michigan State University • conversation
Aug. 28, 2020 ~8 min

 agriculture  plants  microbiome  ecosystem  crops  microbiota  arabidopsis

Crop pathogens are more adaptable than previously thought

Fungi and other organisms called oomycetes are highly adaptable. That's bad news for the global food supply.

Antonis Rokas, Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair in Biological Sciences, Professor of Biological Sciences and Biomedical Informatics, and Director of the Vanderbilt Evolutionary Studies Initiative, Vanderbilt University • conversation
June 23, 2020 ~5 min

evolution climate-change yeast plants fungi crops food-security plant-pathogen

Crops could face double trouble from insects and a warming climate

Plants have evolved techniques for protecting themselves from heat and insect attacks – but when both these stresses happen at once, one defense may neutralize the other.

Nathan Havko, Postdoctoral Fellow in Plant Research, Michigan State University • conversation
April 7, 2020 ~7 min

 climate-change  insects  agriculture  plants  heat-wave  crops  tomato  food-security

Modern tomatoes are very different from their wild ancestors – and we found missing links in their evolution

Through genetic detective work, scientists have identified missing links in the tomato’s evolution from a wild blueberry-sized fruit in South America to the larger modern tomato of today.

Ana Caicedo, Associate Professor of Biology, University of Massachusetts Amherst • conversation
Jan. 30, 2020 ~6 min

 evolution  genetics  agriculture  genomics  research-brief  global-perspectives  crops  tomato  latin-america  plant-breeding  domestication