(npr) – What if farmers, instead of picking up some agricultural chemicals at their local dealer, picked up a load of agricultural microbes instead?
It’s something to contemplate, because some big names in the pesticide business — like Bayer and Monsanto — are putting money behind attempts to turn soil microbes into tools that farmers can use to give their crops a boost, according to National Public Radio’s Dan Charles.
It’s a symptom of the soaring interest in the ways microbes affect all of life. In our bodies, they help fight off disease. In the soil, they help deliver nutrients to plants, and perhaps much more.
The most direct way to take advantage of microbes in farming — an approach that’s been around for decades, in fact — is to deploy them as weapons against insects or weeds.