Roots of Bloody Mary

Regardless of how one says ‘tomato,’ they all contain tomatine, a toxin in the plant’s green fruit, leaves, and roots. Tomatoes produce the bitter-tasting compound — a major plant-specialized metabolite secreted from the roots — to defend against pathogens and foragers.

New study shows saltwater intrusion is wreaking havoc on farms throughout Delmarva

A new paper from researchers at UD, the University of Maryland and George Washington University published in Nature Sustainability shows the spread and cost of saltwater intrusion from 2011-2017 in farms located in those mid-Atlantic states. The paper highlights how between the years 2011-2017, the area covered by visible salt patches almost doubled, with over 19,000 acres converted to marsh. Potential economic losses from the salt patches during that time period totaled over $427,000.

Soil microbes help plants cope with drought, but not how scientists thought

In a multi-generation experiment, researchers from the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) found microbes helped plants cope with drought, but not in response to plants’ cries for help. Instead, the environment itself selected for drought-tolerant microbes. And while those hardy microbes were doing their thing, they just happened to make plants more drought-tolerant, too.

UC Irvine receives grant to study lead exposure effects on children’s learning, behavior

The Program in Public Health at the University of California, Irvine has received a five-year, $2.7 million grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to research the connection between low-level lead exposure during pregnancy and early childhood and children’s school performance and behavior in Santa Ana, California.

How much nitrogen does corn get from fertilizer? Less than farmers think

Corn growers seeking to increase the amount of nitrogen taken up by their crop can adjust many aspects of fertilizer application, but recent studies from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign show those tweaks don’t do much to improve uptake efficiency from fertilizer. That’s because, the studies show, corn takes up the majority of its nitrogen – about 67% on average – from sources occurring naturally in soil, not from fertilizer.