Breakthrough increases plant yields by one third

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Plant scientists have found a way to encourage plants to better use atmospheric nitrogen, thus increasing yields by more than one third.

For years, scientists have tried to increase the rate of nitrogen fixation in legumes by altering rhizobia bacterioid function or interactions that take place between the bacterioid and the root nodule cells.

Tegeder took a different approach: She increased the number of proteins that help move nitrogen from the rhizobia bacteria to the plant’s leaves, seed-producing organs and other areas where it is needed. The additional transport proteins sped up the overall export of nitrogen from the root nodules. This initiated a feedback loop that caused the rhizobia to start fixing more atmospheric nitrogen, which the plant then used to produce more seeds. “They are bigger, grow faster and generally look better than natural soybean plants,” Tegeder said. “Some evidence we have suggests they might also be highly efficient under stressful conditions like drought.”

The technique not only produces healthier plants and more seeds, it reduces the need for fertilizer, the overuse of which can be an environmental issue.


  • Localfluff

    It would be magic if the human brain, or brains since we build on each others crazy and careful thoughts, can outsmart 4,000,000,000 years of evolution. What else can we do?

    Biology is way way off what is optimal, given today’s conditions. Biology is path dependent. Carries legacy stuff not useful anymore. The potential for improvements are endless, literally incalculable. Even without an space flight, we could just sit here and become God by the mere power of biologic research and engineering.

  • wayne

    I’m not thinking…. that is the major take-away from this development!
    (I do however, enjoy your flair.)

    ref: “Biology is way way off what is optimal, given today’s conditions. Biology is path dependent. Carries legacy stuff not useful anymore.”

    Highly recommend–
    Anti-fragile: Things that Gain from Disorder
    Nassim Taleb

  • pzatchok

    Its not GMO.

    I for one will never touch food produced by this method.

    Yeh right, were can I get this stuff for my garden?

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