Soil microbiome engineering

To continue to increase crop production, farmers and scientists have largely focused on crops themselves or on inputs such as fertilizer, pesticides, and water. Increasingly we’ve realized that there’s an additional element: The microbiome of the soil itself. Over the coming decades, advances in biological technologies will give us a deeper understanding of the soil microbiome, allow us to monitor the health of that microbiome more directly, and ultimately give us new biological tools to engineer and cultivate healthier soil ecosystems that produce more food, with fewer chemical inputs, and greater nutrition.

Soil microbes have tremendous impact on crop productivity and stress resistance. Source: DOE Joint Genome Institute.