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Nitrogen Fixing Corn

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Nitrogen Fixing Corn

Unread postby Pops » Thu 09 Aug 2018, 21:10:09

Put this here because we use lots of energy to make fertilizer, and much of the energy in ethanol likely comes from N production as well. Pretty interesting regardless.

The Wonder Plant That Could Slash Fertilizer Use
An indigenous Mexican corn gets its nitrogen from the air.

A team of researchers led by Alan Bennett from UC Davis has shown that the secret of the corn’s success lies in its aerial roots—necklaces of finger-sized, rhubarb-red tubes that encircle the stem. These roots drip with a thick, clear, glistening mucus that’s loaded with bacteria. Thanks to these microbes, the corn can fertilize itself by pulling nitrogen directly from the surrounding air.

The Sierra Mixe corn takes eight months to mature—too long to make it commercially useful. But if its remarkable ability could be bred into conventional corn, which matures in just three months, it would be an agricultural game changer.


Image

That's a pic of the Mixe corn's "ariel roots" but they look just like regular field corn prop roots (or base roots)

Image
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Re: Nitrogen Fixing Corn

Unread postby Tanada » Fri 10 Aug 2018, 17:29:43

Pops wrote:Put this here because we use lots of energy to make fertilizer, and much of the energy in ethanol likely comes from N production as well. Pretty interesting regardless.

The Wonder Plant That Could Slash Fertilizer Use
An indigenous Mexican corn gets its nitrogen from the air.

A team of researchers led by Alan Bennett from UC Davis has shown that the secret of the corn’s success lies in its aerial roots—necklaces of finger-sized, rhubarb-red tubes that encircle the stem. These roots drip with a thick, clear, glistening mucus that’s loaded with bacteria. Thanks to these microbes, the corn can fertilize itself by pulling nitrogen directly from the surrounding air.

The Sierra Mixe corn takes eight months to mature—too long to make it commercially useful. But if its remarkable ability could be bred into conventional corn, which matures in just three months, it would be an agricultural game changer.


Image

That's a pic of the Mixe corn's "ariel roots" but they look just like regular field corn prop roots (or base roots)

Image



Interesting, thanx for posting! Back in the mid 1980's there was a great GMO hope that they could modify corn to have the same sort of bacteria nodules on its roots that Legumes form. For whatever reason that idea seems to have died, but now this!
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Re: Nitrogen Fixing Corn

Unread postby Subjectivist » Sat 11 Aug 2018, 14:01:46

Pops wrote:Put this here because we use lots of energy to make fertilizer, and much of the energy in ethanol likely comes from N production as well. Pretty interesting regardless.

The Wonder Plant That Could Slash Fertilizer Use
An indigenous Mexican corn gets its nitrogen from the air.

A team of researchers led by Alan Bennett from UC Davis has shown that the secret of the corn’s success lies in its aerial roots—necklaces of finger-sized, rhubarb-red tubes that encircle the stem. These roots drip with a thick, clear, glistening mucus that’s loaded with bacteria. Thanks to these microbes, the corn can fertilize itself by pulling nitrogen directly from the surrounding air.

The Sierra Mixe corn takes eight months to mature—too long to make it commercially useful. But if its remarkable ability could be bred into conventional corn, which matures in just three months, it would be an agricultural game changer.


Image

That's a pic of the Mixe corn's "ariel roots" but they look just like regular field corn prop roots (or base roots)

Image


Hey great stuffI I grew up with field of corn for silage nearby and spent time hiding in the field when I was avoiding doing my homework and chores growing up. From what I remember all the corn I ever saw had the red 'air roots' ringing the stalk but no mucous secretions 'there is a statement I never expected to make about corn!' On the air roots. Given that this different cultivar does secrete mucous to host bacteria on those specfic structures it seems possible if not likely that this Mixe subspecies is a primary form with this capacity that modern cultivars have lost somewhere along the way.

I did a google and found several more articles, some of the details vary but the basic facts remain the same.

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science- ... 180969972/

http://www.dailydemocrat.com/article/NI ... /180809872

https://www.ucdavis.edu/food/news/grow- ... ertilizer/
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Re: Nitrogen Fixing Corn

Unread postby pstarr » Sat 11 Aug 2018, 14:58:00

Who remembers the giant GMO Atlantic Salmon Scare? And strawberry/flounder clones that don't freeze. And all sorts of biotech wizardry.

Well in the last 30 years of GMO wizardry there have been a grand total of two successful agriculture products: Roundup Ready Soybeans and BT corn. Good for the world. Not a big problem, really. Not a panacea either. Just the pointless drumbeat of techie fun.
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