Researcher Reels are videos produced by researchers as part of a free online workshop to help them better communicate what they do to general audiences. For the date of the next workshop, contact:
director, Michigan State University’s Translational Scholars Program
517 432 5417
As part of our series, “10 ideas to make the world less hungry,” Ben Muir talks to Bruno Basso, an ecosystem scientist at Michigan State University, about using legumes as a substitute for fertilizers.
Michigan State gave Basso the ‘innovation of the year award’ in 2016 for his work on crop-plant innovation and crop-plant management. He is now working with the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization on innovative ways to quantify crop production at the end of each growing season.
Basso’s idea to make the world less hungry is rooted in agronomy management.
When geographer Joe Messina first analyzed satellite images of Malawi farm fields, he figured he had made a mistake.
Almost everywhere he looked in the East African nation he found maize harvest declines over the previous decade. But this was the site of the Malawi Miracle, a fertilizer subsidy program so successful that it was lauded by researchers in scientific journals and by writers in the New York Times and The Economist.
It became a model program used to justify similar enormous investments by the international community in other African nations.
“I assumed I was wrong,” said Messina, a researcher at Michigan State University’s Global Center for Food Systems Innovation.
In Uganda, farmers in rain-fed agricultural communities depend on irrigation. Without irrigation, they battle with fluctuating and
unpredictable weather conditions, droughts and flooding. Crops don’t do well and yields are low.
Researcher Abraham Salomon, of the University of California-Davis, is working in eastern Uganda, collaborating with local farmers, social advocates, and engineers on flexible and community-managed irrigation interventions. They’ve been installing and maintaining adaptable irrigation systems that allows tomatoes, cabbage, beans and other vegetables to thrive in the dry seasons and the unpredictable rainy seasons.
French fries, hash browns and crispy chips come to mind when we think about potatoes. Potatoes are the most widely consumed crops in the United States, and the world’s fourth-largest food crop, after maize, wheat, and rice.
Potatoes grow on almost every continent. They adapt well toclimate and are a good source of potassium, vitamin C and carbohydrates. Their greatest enemy is soil borne diseases. Currently, those diseases are controlled by fumigating the soil with chemicals. That’s expensive both economically and environmentally. And it kills beneficial organisms!
Luke Steere, a doctoral student in the Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences at Michigan State University, says potatoes have chosen him. Why? He talks to Ali Hussain about his research of molecular techniques and how it could reduce fumigation and improve production of potatoes.