UC Davis Chile

The Wonder Plant That Could Slash Fertilizer Use

August 09, 2018
A team of researchers led by Alan Bennett from UC Davis has shown that the secret of the corn’s success lies in its aerial roots—necklaces of finger-sized, rhubarb-red tubes that encircle the stem. These roots drip with a thick, clear, glistening mucus that’s loaded with bacteria. Thanks to these microbes, the corn can fertilize itself by pulling nitrogen directly from the surrounding air.

Can We Grow One of the World's Largest Food Crops Without Fertilizer?

August 07, 2018
Alan Bennett, distinguished professor of plant sciences at UC Davis and executive director of UC Davis Chile, is part of a multidisciplinary team of researchers from UC Davis, the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and Mars, Incorporated that has made a remarkable discovery: an indigenous variety of Mexican corn that can also fix nitrogen from the atmosphere, instead of requiring synthetic fertilizers.