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Penn State group’s role fighting global hunger to be discussed on WPSU on Nov. 5

A member of the Penn State Roots Lab monitors root system development inside a rainout shelter. Image: Penn State
October 31, 2017

'Digging Deeper' to air at 11:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. on WPSU-TV

Penn State President Eric J. Barron and a pair of University professors will discuss how a Penn State group is helping fight global hunger during the next episode of WPSU Penn State’s “Digging Deeper” on Sunday, Nov. 5.

College of Agricultural Sciences professors Kathleen Brown and Jonathan Lynch from the Penn State Roots Lab will share how their group develops better crops in high-stress environments through more sustainable roots. The United Nations reported in 2017 that global hunger affects more than 815 million people, including more than 760 million in Asia and Africa.

WPSU’s “Digging Deeper” will air at 11:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 5, on WPSU-TV.

Digging Deeper Promo - 403 Penn State Roots Lab from WPSU Creative Services on Vimeo.

“The biggest limits to crop production are drought and low soil fertility, and global climate change is making the problems worse,” Lynch said. “We have discovered a number of root traits for improved capture of water and nutrients, have developed tools for breeders to select for them, and in collaboration with bean and soybean breeders, have developed crops with better root systems that have been released to growers in Africa, Asia and Latin America.”

Although the Roots Lab’s work has an international focus, Lynch said the challenges for growing crops are also felt locally.

“Drought can be a problem in central Pennsylvania, and corn is a major crop,” Lynch said. “Nitrogen fertilizer is a major cost of growing crops, and fertilizer runoff is a major threat to water quality. Our work directly addresses local agricultural problems.”   

Visit the “Digging Deeper” website for more information and to watch archived episodes.


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