Nutrient management strategies for sustainable mulberry plantations

mulberry leaves

Mulberry is a very important, economically multipurpose tree. One of its key uses is as a food source for mulberry silkworms that feast exclusively on its leaves. Therefore, finding ways to boost leaf yields/quality and growth of mulberry trees is of great interest to the silk production industry. Dr Songmei Shi and Professor Xinhua He, from Southwest University, China, have […]

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The ultimate veg patch: Can phytotechnology save cultivated peatlands?

Intact, water-logged peatlands are a stable store of the world’s carbon, but if drained they can become near perfect (organic) soils for growing high-cost vegetables. It was thought that you couldn’t cultivate a peatland without ruining it and releasing its carbon into the atmosphere. Dr Jacynthe Dessureault-Rompré, with her team at Laval University in Québec, Canada, has been investigating whether […]

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Leaf spots on the prairies

a woman in a field of crops

Plants face a large number of threats from their surroundings. When microbes such as fungi act as pathogens on plants, they can cause disease. Some fungal pathogens of wheat appear as symptoms of spots on the leaves. Two important fungal species are the tan spot pathogen and the septoria nodorum blotch pathogen. These fungi can infect the same plant and […]

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Rice husk biochar with beneficial microbes: A promising agricultural inoculant and soil ameliorant

Rice husk biochar has traditionally been used in Japan as a soil ameliorant.

The research of Shohei Ebe and Takashi Ano from Kindai University into the relationship between a microbe and rice husk biochar (RHB) suggest the latter is an activator of beneficial microbes that can be used to combat phytopathogenic microorganisms. Having isolated a novel lipopeptide producing Bacillus sp. that benefits from RHB presence in the soil, these are promising insights into […]

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Unlocking the chemical secrets of microbial conversations

Dr Matt Traxler of the University of California, Berkeley, is changing the way we study microbes. Gone are the days of thinking about a single species in a pure culture in the lab – Traxler and his team of graduate students and postdocs are developing a version of mass spectrometry which promises to allow single microbial cells, and their interactions […]

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