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“Not only is temperature arguably more important than the type of wheat, but small temperature changes can make a huge difference.“At 20°C they were fine but at 24°C they suffered really badly.” ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology Director Professor Harvey Millar said climate change was poised to deliver a double blow to wheat plants, with both increasing temperatures and a greater chance of flooding.

“For farmers, it means that their soils may be suppressing the ability of mycorrhizal fungi to help their crops acquire nutrients, and the extent of suppression is likely different from farm to farm.

This uptake of nutrients is enhanced in many plants by mycorrhizal fungi which colonise the roots, creating a vast connection between the plant roots and the soil around them.

Researchers studying mycorrhizal fungi don’t generally use natural field soils in their experiments.

Further investigation through altering abiotic features of the soils and DNA sequencing led the researchers to conclude that p H indirectly affects suppression of mycorrhizal fungi through altering the microbiome of the soil.

Studies are continuing to identify the exact soil microbes involved.

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