Drought-quenching bacteria the future of farming?
The team found 20-40 percent increase in growth when a plant was introduced to rhizobacteria, and the effect was consistently stronger under drought.
“This is encouraging because it means that the places most vulnerable to climate change will benefit the most” Rubin shared.
While the global climate changes, the demand for water increases.
Surprisingly enough, Rubin’s study shows that rhizobacteria promote plant growth even better under drought conditions.
Her examination included a diversity of bacterial and plant taxa, which all showed a universal benefit.
“This is the first study that has quantitatively shown that rhizobacteria can improve plant growth in drought” Rubin shared.
Rhizobacteria grow on a variety of plants in a range of places, Rubin explained.
But future work may reveal which plant hosts to focus on.
In the future, rhizobacteria could be used to augment existing soil conservation practices, including no-till farming and intercropping.
For now, Rubin intends to take this research home and apply her studies to native Arizona grasses.