Close up of aerial roots on a corn stalk. The roots make their own gel-like substance which houses nitrogen fixing bacteria. Researchers found that in this land race of corn, atmospheric nitrogen fixation contributed 29%–82% of the nitrogen nutrition. (Credit: Jean-Michel Ane’)
WASHINGTON — When you participate in a carpool, you’re partnering with other people. Everyone benefits. Plants can do the same, and even with other species. The July 22nd Sustainable, Secure Food blog explores plant partnerships, and their role in creating our future food supply.
According to blogger Kevin Kosola, there are beautiful and intricate patterns of biology behind these partnerships. “They hold promise to continue to improve the economic and environmental sustainability of farming,” says Kosola, who works with Bayer Crop Science.
Legume crops partner up with types of bacteria. The legumes provide bacteria with a home – in their root nodules. The bacteria provide the legumes with nitrogen (fixed from the air). In return, the legumes provide bacteria with sugars they need to grow.
Last year, results were published about a newly discovered landrace of corn. Grown in Mexico, this corn creates a gel-like sugary mix on its aerial roots. Microbes thrive in the sugar gel, and in return, provide the corn with nitrogen.
Plants can also partner with fungi in the soil. Fungal filaments acquire soil nutrients and transport them to the roots. The technical term for these type of fungi is mycorrhiza.
“Enhancing plant-microbial partnerships is key to improving plant nutrient use efficiency and health, sustainably,” says Kosola.
Read the full blog here:
–American Society of Agronomy
Crop Science Society of America
Source: Morning Ag Clips