Dr. Olav Rueppell Wins NSF BREAD Ideas Challenge
UNCG Biology Professor, Dr. Olav Rueppell, was recently named a winner of the National Science Foundation's BREAD Ideas Challenge. "The BREAD Ideas Challenge is a call to the scientific community to identify the next big research foci for the BREAD program. The focus of BREAD, or Basic Research to Enable Agricultural Development, is on novel, transformative, basic research with direct relevance and potential application to smallholder agriculture in the developing world."
Dr. Rueppell's challenge answered this problem proposed by the NSF: Smallholder farmers often must subsist on small areas of nutrient-impoverished land. Ironically, industrialization has released the building blocks of these same nutrients into the air in the form of aerial pollutants. Some plants (e.g. epiphytes) can make use of these aerial nutrients, but most of these have low growth rates or are not agriculturally useful. His challenge stated -- Develop knowledge and means to create or modify crops to make use of aerial nutrients, increasing smallholder farmers' yields in nutrient-deficient land while reducing their dependence on chemical fertilizers. Congratulations Dr. Rueppell!
More information about the NSF BREAD Ideas Challenge can be found at the BREAD Ideas Challenge website: http://www.nsf.gov/bio/bread/about.jsp