The Five College Farms greenhouse soil.

Modeling Shows Climate Change May Reduce Beneficial Soil Microbes

In a study published in Nature Food, scientists from Penn State University analyzed soil samples from around the world for the abundance and distribution of plant beneficial bacteria (PBB). They modeled how microbes that provide services such as biocontrol, stress resistance, and plant growth promotion could be affected by climate change. Under the fossil-fueled development scenario,which assumes tripled green house gas emissions by 2075, the model predicted that PBB associated with biocontrol and stress resistance would decline by 0.60% in 80% of global regions. The researchers say that more study is needed to learn what levels of microbe reduction are harmful to plants, and they caution that the addition of soil probiotics to restore diminished PBB is problematic because they require continual application and only a small fraction of soil microbes can be cultured.