The grand challenge of the 21st century is to sustain 10 billion people in a degraded global environment. A central element of that effort will be the development of climate-resilient agroecosystems that can provide food, fiber, and fuel at a reduced environmental cost. Water limitation is the single greatest limit to plant growth and this will worsen in the future because of global climate change. Low soil fertility is a primary barrier to food security in developing nations and in rich nations intensive fertilization is a primary cause of environmental pollution. A better understanding of root function and root health, including root associations with symbionts, will open avenues to create new resilient crops and agroecosystems, and improved management of natural ecosystems, that are urgently needed.
Center for Root and Rhizosphere Biology
Supporting research and training on plant roots and their associated rhizospheres
Liana Burghardt awarded Tansley Medal for excellence in plant science
Assistant Professor of Plant Science recognized for outstanding research contributions early in her career.
Cover crop roots are key to understanding ecosystem services
To judge the overall effectiveness of cover crops and choose those offering the most ecosystem services, agricultural scientists must consider the plants’ roots as well as above-ground biomass, according to Penn State researchers who tested the characteristics of cover crop roots in three monocultures and one mixture.
Research team to study food resilience in the face of catastrophic global events
An interdisciplinary team of Penn State professors has received $3 million from Open Philanthropy to study food resilience in the face of potentially catastrophic global events.