“Agriculture and the Microbiome” Blog

The most recent issue paper titled Agriculture and the Microbiome was released on Monday, August 24, with a webinar held on Tuesday. The term “microbiome” refers to a community of microorganisms in a particular environment and includes the biological, chemical, and physical characteristics associated with both the microorganisms and their specific environment.

The issue paper discussed how microbes as a whole are not inherently “good” or “bad,” how biological products are used, and the process to produce a new biological product. The webinar started with one of the co-chair authors, Ignazio Carbone (North Carolina State University), covering ancient and modern agriculture, the agricultural revolution (figure 1), how the global demand and consumption of agricultural crops is increasing, how to harness the power of microbes, and a few other areas.

Figure 1

The other co-chair author, Megan Andrews from North Carolina State University, began by covering why it’s important to emphasize the need for microbiome based solutions, the new technologies available to understand microbial data, and how important interdisciplinary agricultural microbiome research is.

In the last half of the webinar, the panelists answered questions from the attendees. Elizabeth Stulberg, Science Policy Manager for ACSESS, answered a question on how microbiome research can help with food security issues during the COVID-19 pandemic. Gregory Maloney, Senior Scientist with Novozymes BioAg, discussed microbiome applications in a field. Carolyn Young, Professor at Noble Research Institute, answered a question by explaining the benefits of regenerative agriculture.

The full Q&A will be posted at a later date.

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