Decoding plant chatter could lead to stronger crops

Researchers will use a $2.25 federal grant to study how cells communicate within plants, and between plants and pathogens, to develop crops that are resilient to disease and other stresses. The work also could play a role in reengineering plants and microbes to improve biofuel production.

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Scientists Discover New Antibiotic in Tropical Forest

Scientists from Rutgers University and around the world have discovered an antibiotic produced by a soil bacterium from a Mexican tropical forest that may help lead to a “plant probiotic,” more robust plants and other antibiotics. Probiotics, which provide friendlier bacteria and health benefits for humans, can also be beneficial to plants, keeping them healthy and more robust. The new antibiotic, known as phazolicin, prevents harmful bacteria from getting into the root systems of bean plants, according to a Rutgers co-authored study in the journal Nature Communications.

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Corn and soybean rotation could pose long-term tradeoffs for soil health

A new study examines the mechanisms that drive the decomposition of organic matter in soils that undergo long-term corn and soybean crop rotations. The study shows how corn and soybean rotations can provide important environmental and management benefits for farmers, but the practice also comes with tradeoffs that some farmers may wish to address by adjusting their management practices.

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