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UConn receives Grand Challenges Explorations Grant for research in global health and development
Date:11/13/2012

irit of Grand Challenges Explorations projects and are enthusiastic about this exciting research. These investments hold real potential to yield new solutions to improve the health of millions of people in the developing world, and ensure that everyone has the chance to live a healthy productive life."

To receive funding, Shor and Gage demonstrated in a two-page online application a creative idea in one of five critical global heath and development topic areas that included agriculture development, immunization and communications.

The UConn research team will use the GCE funds to explore new ways to distribute beneficial bacteria in soils to improve the health of food crops. Gage is an expert on the microenvironment of the rhizosphere - that narrow region of the soil around a plant's roots that is critical to capturing nutrients and suppressing disease. Beneficial bacteria found in the rhizosphere inhibit pathogens, produce antibiotics, help plants absorb soil nutrients, and moderate ambient soil moisture. Protozoa are also found in the rhizosphere. Shor specializes in artificial microbial habitats and the migration of protozoa in confined environments.

Focusing on bean and wheat plants, Shor and Gage will investigate the potential for using natural protozoa in the rhizosphere to better distribute beneficial bacteria among the roots of growing crops. The bacteria would be delivered into the soil on seed coatings and then dispersed by protozoa in the microenvironment. Conventional biocontrol technologies often fail to deliver enough functioning bacteria within the rhizosphere to stave off fungal and bacterial attacks that can limit crop yields. Ultimately, better distribution of these "good" bacteria could improve crop productivity for farmers in developing countries.


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Contact: Colin Poitras, UConn Media Relations
colin.poitras@uconn.edu
001-860-486-4656
University of Connecticut
Source:Eurekalert  

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UConn receives Grand Challenges Explorations Grant for research in global health and development
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