What is it about?

We describe methods to isolate bacteria from soil, how to analyze the soil for an inventory of microbes, and how to ensure that they can be safely used and are effective either in restoring nutrients or in biocontrol. The goal is to develop strategies towards sustainable agriculture.

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Why is it important?

Soil health is failing because of the overuse of chemical amendments such as nitrogen and phosphate fertilizers and pesticides that pollute the environment as well as other agricultural practices including over-tilling and lack of crop diversity and/or crop rotation. To feed the projected 9 billion people expected to be on Earth in 2050 without further damaging the soil, we cannot continue with current strategies that do not ensure soil health. We outline approaches to mining the soil for plant-growth promoting microbes and ensuring that they are effective.


Our personal perspective is that the health of soil, the second most important resource on Earth after water , is in jeopardy and needs greater attention from scientific researchers. Our goal is to develop microbial inoculations that can replace chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Many scientists are now undertaking these kinds of studies and our paper is a guide on how we approach the goal of finding microbes to replace synthetic inputs.

Professor Ann M. Hirsch
University of California Los Angeles

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Engineering root microbiomes for healthier crops and soils using beneficial, environmentally safe bacteria, Canadian Journal of Microbiology, September 2018, Canadian Science Publishing,
DOI: 10.1139/cjm-2018-0315.
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