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SARE grant awarded for microbe study

Posted: September 21, 2013

Roots, soil microbes and farmers gather together in a new project by the Roots Lab.
Tania Galindo, PhD candidate, was awarded an NE SARE grant.

Tania Galindo, PhD candidate, was awarded an NE SARE grant.

The proposal titled “Root cortical aerenchyma in maize hybrids in Pennsylvania and interaction with mycorrhiza and soil-borne pathogens” presented by the PhD student of the Roots Lab, Tania Galindo and her advisor, Dr. Jonathan Lynch, has been selected by the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program (http://www.sare.org) for funding in 2013 - 2015.  The project prevailed in the competition to which 43 proposals were submitted and only 20 were accepted for funding.  

The program NE-SARE promotes the innovation and sustainability of agriculture in the North East region of the US and is part of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.  The aim of the program is to offer competitive grants to projects that investigate specific “issues affecting the sustainability and future economic viability of agriculture” (http://www.nesare.org/About-Us/About-Northeast-SARE).  In particular, the “2013 Graduate Student Grants in Sustainable Agriculture” has granted Tania´s proposal to study the interaction of root traits with beneficial and pathogenic microorganisms in maize hybrids in Pennsylvania farms.  This topic is crucial for sustainable agriculture because it would provide insights into possible tradeoffs of selection of the trait root cortical aerenchyma (RCA) in the microbial relations of maize.

The project has an outreach component that will be accomplished by collaborating with Dr. Gregory Roth, extension grain crops specialist at PennState University. Through this collaboration we will have access to field experiments across Pennsylvania to collect samples. Also, we will share our findings with farmers by presenting our results in talks, field trips and meetings.