The websites of specialty fertilizer companies now often resemble a love letter to the periodic table of elements. Boron, zinc, manganese, oh my! Each shiny product is designed to sell farmers a nutrient they either didn’t know they needed or simply cannot live without.
The implications for the development of self-fertilizing crops are enormous, but research is in its early days, said Bennett. His team is now focusing on identifying the genetic components and the associated microbes that carry out the process.