Could This Slimy Corn 'Fix' One of Earth's Biggest Pollution Problems?

September 12, 2018

Inspired by a unique species of corn that takes nitrogen from the air to nourish itself, a team of researchers from UC Davis and the University of Wisconsin, Madison, is proposing that major crops could be engineered to do the same thing, accomplishing two tasks at once -- eliminating the need for polluting fertilizers and removing a greenhouse gas from the atmosphere. Speaking of the energy-intensive process that produces fertilizer and adds to greenhouse gases, ARE Professor David Zilberman, says that its waste can cost billions of dollars worldwide, and that the benefits of such engineering would be extensive. Farmers who can't afford fertilizer, in places like southern Africa, would be able to boost their yields by $2.5 billion to $7.2 billion, he says. And full adoption could lead to $17 billion to $70 billion in global savings. "This technology will be revolutionary," he concludes. "It will be good for farmers, it will be good for consumers, and it will be good for the environment." Read more.