Researchers at Washington State University seek to improve drought-resistant crops, thanks to more than $900,000 in funding from the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).
Mechthild Tegeder, professor in the WSU School of Biological Sciences, received $494,000 to study the role of important compounds, called ureides, in soybeans. In the long term, her team’s work could enhance soybean productivity and transfer these discoveries to other crops, improving yields.
Washington State University biologist Mechthild Tegeder has developed a way to dramatically increase the yield and quality of soybeans.
Her greenhouse-grown soybean plants fix twice as much nitrogen from the atmosphere as their natural counterparts, grow larger and produce up to 36 percent more seeds.
“The biggest implication of our research is that by ramping up the natural nitrogen allocation process we can increase the amount of food we produce without contributing to further agricultural pollution,” Tegeder said. “Eventually we would like to transfer what we have learned to other legumes and plants that humans grow for food.”