Maize root chemicals can increase wheat yield

Cultivating grains more sustainably without additional fertilizers or pesticides? Researchers demonstrate that specialized chemical from maize roots can lead to increased yields in subsequent wheat crops.


Specialized metabolites from the roots of the maize plant can bring about an increase in the yields of subsequently planted wheat under agriculturally realistic conditions. Image: Valentin Gfeller

In addition to the increased crop, the researchers also observed lower levels of infestation by some pests. “A yield increase of 4 percent may not sound spectacular, but it is still significant considering how challenging it has become to enhance wheat yields without additional inputs,” explains Matthias Erb, Professor for Biotic Interactions at the Institute of Plant Sciences.