Aristilde finds war on weeds takes toll on beneficial bacteria in the soil
As farmers battle in their above-ground war on weeds, they may inadvertently create underground casualties – unintentionally attacking the beneficial bacteria that help crops guard against enemy fungus, according to Cornell University research.
Specifically, Cornell researchers found negative consequences of the weed-killing herbicide glyphosate on Pseudomonas, a soil-friendly bacteria.
"Beneficial Pseudomonas in the soil can help crops thrive. They can produce plant-stimulating hormones to promote plant growth and antifungals to defeat problematic fungi – such as Pythium and Fusarium – found in agricultural soil, but previous studies reported that the abundance of beneficial bacteria decreased when the herbicide glyphosate seeps underground," said Ludmilla Aristilde, assistant professor of biological and environmental engineering. "Our study seeks to understand why this happens."