Thin filaments of fungi form a dense network between the roots of most of the world's food crops. Some researchers believe that working with such microbes rather than against them, as has often been the case in conventional agriculture, will help the worl
Thin filaments of fungi form a dense network between the roots of most of the world's food crops. Some researchers believe that working with such microbes rather than against them, as has often been the case in conventional agriculture, will help the world grow more food with less environmental impact.
Credit:

Ian Sanders

Geneticist Ian Sanders and his colleagues grew cassava in this field in Columbia using a fungal gel that he says improved yields by 20 percent. Cassava, which is native to Columbia, is one of the world's most important food crops, feeding over a billion p
Geneticist Ian Sanders and his colleagues grew cassava in this field in Colombia using a fungal gel that he says improved yields by 20 percent. Cassava, which is native to Colombia, is one of the world's most important food crops, feeding over a billion people.
Credit:

Ian Sanders

Corn and other crops grow with the aid of introduced fungi in the Seattle greenhouse of the microbiologist Rusty Rodriguez's company. Rodriguez hopes the microbes will help crops survive growing climate stresses like droughts, floods and extreme heat and cold.
Credit:

Cynthia Graber

“Sometimes people think you have to go to unexplored wilderness to find something completely new,” says University of Lausanne geneticist Ian Sanders about what are known as mycorrhizal fungi. “But we just have to look in the soil that’s beneath our feet.”
Credit:

University of Lausanne

“Biologics are the next paradigm for agriculture,” says Seattle microbiologist Rusty Rodriguez. But he adds that scientists working with agricultural fungi and other microbes "have to know the organism is safe. I never want to be in a situation where I stand up in front of an audience and they ask me that question and I say ‘I don't know.’”
Credit:

Symbiogenics

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