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Rice-Boosting Fungus Discovered

11 June 2010

SWITZERLAND – Researchers at a Swiss university have discovered a microscopic fungus that may be able to speed up the growth of rice by five times, a French news agency has reported.

According to AFP, scientists at Switzerland's University of Lausanne claimed that the helpful fungus mycorrhiza was "completely natural" and could reduce growers' use of phosphate fertilisers.

The specialist team also suggested that their discovery could be commercialised and used in large-scale farming within the next five years.

Caroline Angelard told the news service that, depending on their genetic makeup, different mycorrhiza spores had varying impacts on the speed at which rice grew, with some samples quickening the process by up to five times.

Ms Angelard explained, however, that exactly how the spores help to improve the growth rate of rice was still a mystery.

She said: "We still have to study how this symbiosis between the fungus and the rice plant led in some conditions to the accelerated growth of the rice plant."

Yesterday, the BBC reported that researchers in the US are working on a new variety of peanut that they claim could lower the risk of anaphylactic shock to those with allergies.

TheCropSite News Desk

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