delware environmental institute

Novel study shows ‘cocktail’ of soil bacteria can protect rice plants from deadly forces

Novel study shows ‘cocktail’ of soil bacteria can protect rice plants from deadly forces

University of Delaware student Jonathon Cottone knows the tell-tale signs that rice plants are getting sick: the yellowing leaves, the faint football-shaped lesions.

Cottone, a junior from Wilmington, Delaware, is working with Harsh Bais, associate professor of plant and soil sciences at UD, on research to help this globally important grain cope with increasing stress.

Recently, the UD team found that when rice plants are subjected to multiple threats — including increasing concentrations of poisonous arsenic in water and soil, an urgent concern in Southeast Asia, plus a fungal disease called rice blast — the plants aren’t necessarily goners.