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Microbiome Research Aims to Increase Crop Yield

Scientists at Northern Arizona University (NAU) and Purdue University are studying bacterial and fungal communities in soil to understand how microbiomes impact agricultural crops. Specifically, researchers have been exploring how crop rotations affect the microbiome and how that, in turn, affects crop yield. Study results showed that rotating to a closely related crop did not adversely affect yield, and they also revealed that the microbiome legacy of a crop extends into the second crop year. Professor Greg Caporaso at NAU explains his long-term goal of collaborating with organic farmers who are practicing regenerative agriculture techniques. “We can learn how they can use advances in microbiome science to their advantage. I believe that this can help lower their fertilizer costs and water use, and build resiliency and food security in our communities.”