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Undisciplined: The Future Of Fertilizers

It’s no longer revolutionary to point out that bacteria can be beneficial in many ways. But until recently, we haven’t had a good handle on the role microorganisms play in plant growth. Now, researchers at Utah State University are starting to ask that question — and the answers may change the way we think about farming.

Elizabeth Vargis is an associate professor of biological engineering at Utah State University. She first joined us back in 2018 to talk about her research on a new device for stressing in-vitro cells.

And with us for the first time on Undisciplined is David Britt, a professor of biological engineering at Utah State where he studies nanoparticles, biofilms, molecular imprinting and agriculture.

 

Matthew LaPlante has reported on ritual infanticide in Northern Africa, insurgent warfare in the Middle East, the legacy of genocide in Southeast Asia, and gang violence in Central America. But a few years back, something donned on him: Maybe the news doesn't have to be brutally depressing all the time. Today, he balances his continuing work on more heartbreaking subjects by writing books about the intersection of science, human health and society, including the New York Times best-selling Lifespan with geneticist David Sinclair and the Nautilus Award-winning Longevity Plan with cardiologist John Day. His first solo book, Superlative, looks at what scientists are learning by studying organisms that have evolved in record-setting ways, and his is currently at work on another book about embracing the inevitability of human-caused climate change with an optimistic outlook on the future.