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XiteBio / 17.07.2012

Soil bacteria are frequently studied in the context of soil health and soil-plant-microbe interactions. But one known plant growth promoting bacterium has beneficial effects outside of growth promotion. An innovative team at Northumbria University has found that Bacillus megaterium can be used to extend the life of concrete and even repair existing concrete. How this species of Bacillus is able to do this is remarkable. A nutrient- rich solution of the bacteria is   either mixed in with new concrete or applied over the surface of old concrete. The bacteria grow throughout...

XiteBio / 10.07.2012

Legumes can supply their own nitrogen, provided that appropriate species of Rhizobium bacteria are present. This allows legumes to produce greater yields without additional nitrogen and also helps succeeding crops in the rotation. Checking root nodules for nitrogen fixation is a straight forward process:  Wait 4-6 weeks after planting. It takes this long for nodules to form and nitrogen fixation to begin.  Dig out some of the root nodules attached to the roots.  Slice the root nodules in half. Check the colour of the interior of the root nodules. A pink colour means...

XiteBio / 18.06.2012

  [caption id="attachment_281" align="alignright" width="233" caption="Deliberately adding excessive phosphorus to a freshwater lake results in extensive algae growth on the water surface"][/caption] Polluting lakes on purpose in the name of science. This is everyday life at the Experimental Lakes Area (ELA), a collection of 58 freshwater lakes in the province of Ontario, Canada. Under government protection since 1968, these lakes are designated for the sole purpose of conducting experiments over an entire lake ecosystem. These lakes are self-contained, so scientists are able to pollute individual lakes without disturbing others. They...

XiteBio / 15.06.2012

  I believe innovation is the most powerful force for change in the world. – Bill Gates   [caption id="attachment_276" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Comparison of non-flood-tolerant and flood-tolerant rice varieties after submergence"][/caption] As the problems facing the world become more challenging, the solutions needed to overcome them require us to be more creative. In a report delivered at the G20 summit in November 2011, Bill Gates provided an example of how innovations in agriculture can overcome existing problems, while having the potential to help solve future problems as well. There is a region in...