What if we stopped using pesticides?

Farmers use chemical products to control weeds, pests and diseases. While they are extremely effective, relying solely on these products can cause problems for the environment and beneficial organisms. Professor Xiangming Xu and Dr Michelle Fountain of the National Institute of Agricultural Botany are finding out how a deeper understanding of biology can allow us to be more tactical about protecting our crops TALK LIKE A PLANT BIOLOGIST Before reading Xiangming and Michelle’s research story, make sure you understand these key words: Biocontrol agents – Organisms used to restrict the spread of another organism (most commonly, natural enemies used to control pests. Ladybirds will eat aphids and other insects that we consider pests, for example) DNA sequencing – The process of discovering genetic code (DNA sequences) using scientific equipment Microbes – Organisms that are invisible to the naked eye Microbiome – The community of microorganisms (microbes) that exists in […]

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