Nitrogen-fixing plant roots, Senegal

Nitrogen-fixing plant roots, Senegal

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Credit: THIERRY BERROD, MONA LISA PRODUCTION/ SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Nitrogen-fixing plant roots, Senegal. Farmer comparing the roots of a plant that was inoculated with nitrogen-fixing bacteria (left) with the roots of an ordinary plant (right). These crops were planted in an arid area in Senegal, near the border with Mauritania. The growth of the left-hand plant was aided by adding the nitrogen-fixing bacteria Rhizobium. This bacterium colonised the roots, and converted nitrogen in the atmosphere to nutrients for the plant. This can increase yields in arid areas, as well as reducing the use of fertilisers.

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