Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and UC Berkeley have discovered that as plants develop they craft their root microbiome, favoring microbes that consume very specific metabolites. Their study could help scientists identify ways to enhance the soil microbiome for improved carbon storage and plant productivity.
Berkeley Lab is launching a new research institute to focus resources on its growing portfolio of projects for water innovation – from nano-engineered desalination solutions to ultra-high resolution climate modeling for watershed predictions to novel groundwater management approaches.
How will the farms of the future feed a projected 9.8 billion people by 2050? Berkeley Lab’s “smart farm” project marries microbiology and machine learning in an effort to reduce the need for chemical fertilizers and enhance soil carbon uptake, thus improving the long-term viability of the land while increasing crop yields.
ARPA-E has awarded Berkeley Lab $4.6 million for two projects to “see” into the soil and ultimately develop crops that take carbon out of the atmosphere. One technology aims to use electrical current to image the root system. The other will use neutron scattering to measure the distribution of carbon and other elements in the soil.