Wednesday, September 26, 2018

The Next Green Revolution May Rely on Microbes - Cynthia Graber

mycorrhizae-on-root

Mycorrhizal fungi colonize the tip of a root, seen here under magnification.

Ian Sanders wants to feed the world. A soft-spoken Brit, Sanders studies fungus genetics in a lab at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland. But fear not, he’s not on a mad-scientist quest to get the world to eat protein pastes made from ground-up fungi. Still, he believes—he’s sure—that these microbes will be critical to meeting the world’s future food needs.

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Thank the Microbes, This Is a Good Malbec - Allison Eck

Microbes, Terroir and Vineyards

Wines are said to get some of their flavor from terroir, or the peculiarities of the region in which its grapes are grown.

What do wine, coffee, and chocolate have in common?

Besides delectability, their flavors are derived in part from terroir, a loanword from French which roughly means “a sense of place.” From a scientific standpoint, terroir refers to the combined effects of geography, soil, local climate, and plant genetics on certain agricultural products. French winemakers put great stock in terroir, though not all of their American peers have been sold on the idea. There’s little data to define what terroir is. Testing the concept is incredibly difficult—there are almost too many potential variables.

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Here's the scoop on chemical and organic fertilizers

OSU_organic_fertilizer-vs-inorganic

Spring is the time for thinking about fertilizers. Organic options are a great way to go.Organic fertilizers such as manures, compost or bone meal are derived directly from plant or animal sources, according to Ross Penhallegon, horticulturist with the Oregon State University Extension Service. Inorganic fertilizers such as ammonium sulfate or ammonium phosphate are often called commercial or synthetic fertilizers because they go through a manufacturing process, although many of them come from naturally occurring mineral deposits.

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