Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fungi reduce need for fertilizer in agriculture

Date:
May 26, 2011
Source:
American Society for Microbiology
Summary:
The next agricultural revolution may be sparked by fungi, helping to greatly increase food-production for the growing needs of the planet without the need for massive amounts of fertilizers according to new research.

The next agricultural revolution may be sparked by fungi, helping to greatly increase food-production for the growing needs of the planet without the need for massive amounts of fertilizers according to research presented May 23 at the 111th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in New Orleans.

Related Articles


"The United Nations conservatively estimates that by the year 2050 the global human population is expected to reach over 9 billion. Feeding such a population represents an unprecedented challenge since this goes greatly beyond current global food production capacity," says Ian Sanders of the University of Lusanne, Switzerland, speaking in a session entitled "How Microbes Can Help Feed the World."

Sanders studies mycorrhizal fungi, a type of fungus that live in symbiosis with plant roots. When plants make symbioses with these fungi they tend to grow larger because the fungi acquire the essential nutrient phosphate for the plant. Phosphate is a key component of the fertilizers that fueled the Green Revolution in middle of the 20th century that made it possible then for agriculture to keep up with the growing global population.

"In most tropical soils plants have enormous difficulty in obtaining phosphate and so farmers have to spend a huge amount of money on phosphate fertilizer. Farmers have to add much more fertilizer than in temperate regions and a very large amount of the cost to produce food is the cost of phosphate," says Sanders.

Phosphate reserves are being rapidly depleted. Increasing demand for the nutrient is driving up prices and some countries are now stockpiling phosphate to feed their populations in the future, according to Sanders.

While mycorrhizal fungi typically only grow on the roots of plants, recent biotechnological breakthroughs now allow scientists to produce massive quantities of the fungus that can be suspended in high concentrations in a gel for easy transportation.

Sanders and his colleagues are currently testing the effectiveness of this gel on crops in the country of Colombia where they have discovered that with the gel they can produce the same yield of potato crop with less than half the amount of phosphate fertilizers.

"While our applied research is focused on Colombia it could be applied in many other tropical regions of the world," says Sanders.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Microbiology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Society for Microbiology. "Fungi reduce need for fertilizer in agriculture." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 May 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110523101907.htm>.
American Society for Microbiology. (2011, May 26). Fungi reduce need for fertilizer in agriculture. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110523101907.htm
American Society for Microbiology. "Fungi reduce need for fertilizer in agriculture." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110523101907.htm (accessed November 25, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stray Dog Follows Adventure Racing Team for 6-Day Endurance Race

Stray Dog Follows Adventure Racing Team for 6-Day Endurance Race

Buzz60 (Nov. 24, 2014) — A Swedish Adventure racing team travels to try and win a world title, but comes home with something way better: a stray dog that joined the team for much of the grueling 430-mile race. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Yellow-Spotted Turtles Rescued from Trafficking

Yellow-Spotted Turtles Rescued from Trafficking

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) — Hundreds of Amazon River turtles released into the wild in Peru. Sharon Reich reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Deadly Japanese Pufferfish Discovered in Crimean Waters

Deadly Japanese Pufferfish Discovered in Crimean Waters

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) — The capture of deadly Japanese pufferfish in the waters of Crimea is causing concern for fishermen and scientists alike. Sharon Reich reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins