1 Tahrcountry Musings: Fungi Can Speed Up Growth Rate of Rice by Two to Five Times

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Fungi Can Speed Up Growth Rate of Rice by Two to Five Times

Plant pathologist Ian Sanders and colleagues from University of Lausanne, Switzerland, have evolved a method by which fungi can speed up growth rate of rice by two to five times.
Nearly 80% of plant species have established a bond with a common fungus. In return for sugar, the fungus helps the plants extract nutrients from the soil. But fungi do not have this special relationship with rice. The aim of Dr Sanders was to devise a method to artificially enable the method in rice.
Dr Sanders collected single fungal spores from fields near Z├╝rich and cultivated them in the lab. The researchers extracted individual spores from each parent and grew them for three generations. The scientists found that the third generation of fungi bonded with rice and increased the plants’ growth rate by two to five times. The scientist attributes the success of bonding to third generation’s greater genetic variability.
The work is still in the labs but scientist hope that in the immediate future it can be taken to the field on an extensive basis.
Full details appear in the latest issue of journal  Current Biology.

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