Research

Arbuscular mycorrhizas  in ancient systems

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Why are there so few arbuscular mycorrhizal taxa? Is the phylum really so depauperate or have we simply been looking in the wrong places?  We’re looking at long chornosequences of Western Red Cedar/Hemlock forests of the Pacific Northwest to see if there are ‘old growth’ microbial communities.

Arbuscular mycorrhizas in sustainable agriculture

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We know that microbes help plants deal with nutrient and environmental stress….but do they make food more nutritious?  The effects of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi on plant nutrition is well documented in terms of phosphorus and nitrogen, but does that translate into improved food quality for humans? We study how arbuscular mycorrhizas improve both mineral content and secondary metabolites in edible portions of crop plants.  We’re looking at how to improve nutritional quality of food crops from the ground up.

 

 

Invasive microbes?

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Are there invasive microbes? This could be a good or a bad thing. While we want microbes to act invasively in certain situations (agricultural application, remediation, restoration), are these deliberate inoculations resulting in unintentional introductions into natural systems?