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03 Aug 2011: Crops With Deeper Roots
Could Boost CO2 Storage, Study Says

Breeding crops with deeper roots could significantly reduce atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide and make crops more drought resistant, according to a study by a researcher at the University of Manchester. Reporting in the journal, Annals of Botany, professor Douglas Kell calculated that breeding crops whose roots extend 2 meters underground, rather than the 1-meter roots common to many crops, could double the amount of carbon captured from the atmosphere. Kell reported that creating crops and plants with deeper and bushier roots would also lead to more water and nutrient retention and produce more sustainable plant yields as the world warms and droughts increase in water-stressed regions. “This doubling of root biomass from a nominal 1 meter to 2 meters is really the key issue,” said Kell.

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