New corn to be better for environment

corn-cobCorn uses too much water and too much fertilizer to produce, its critics often charge, making it a bad environmental choice.

Yet millions of people around the world depend on corn as a staple of life –  as food for themselves, as feed for their livestock and as a renewable fuel alternative. And that demand is only expected to grow in the decades to come.

So I was quite interested to read about a new research project at the University of Guelph that will help address some of those environmental concerns by developing new corn varieties that will need less water and less fertilizer.

Researchers in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology are working to identify the genes that control plant growth in order to improve how corn absorbs and uses nitrogen.

Fewer and fewer growers are being challenged to produce more and more, so any tool that can help them do so with fewer resources and less environmental impact is a step forward for all of us.

Photo credit: Dow AgroSciences media photo library

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