About This Project
Beneficial soil microorganisms can boost the plant immune system. We want to know if farming practices that boost the biological activity in soil can increase plant defenses against insects. We will collect soil from various farm fields, measure how well caterpillars develop on plants grown in these soils, and isolate key microbes. If farmers cultivate soil microorganisms that help plants fight off insects, they will be able to reduce insecticides use, improving health of farming ecosystems.