The Surprising Plant-Fungi Relationship That Could Help Feed Us, Even As the World Heats Up


9 Aug 2017

As the world warms, how can we make sure that important food crops withstand changes in global climate? I spoke with microbiologist Rusty Rodriguez about his surprising discovery in this profile for TED’s Ideas site.

When we visualize how climate change will affect our world, many of us picture melting glaciers, waterlogged streets, blistering heat, dried-up lakes and reservoirs, and parched plant life. What may not jump to mind at first are empty refrigerators and dinner tables. But as temperatures rise and extreme weather events like hurricanes and floods become more common, worldwide crop yields are expected to diminish. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change believes that the risk of hunger and malnutrition worldwide could increase by as much as 20 percent by 2050, and developing countries are believed to be especially vulnerable. As humanity scrambles for ways to adapt, scientists are looking for ways to protect the future of food. Seattle-based microbiologist Rusty Rodriguez (TEDxRainier Talk: Unlocking the power of symbiosis in a warming world) believes one possible solution might be to leverage an ancient cooperative relationship between fungi and plants.

Keep reading at TED Ideas

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