Five Kansas universities will collaborate on an agricultural research project examining the role that microorganisms play in the environment.
As the Topeka Capital-Journal reports, the University of Kansas, Kansas State University, Fort Hays State University, Wichita State University and Haskell Indian Nations University will cooperate on the $20 million research project, being funded by the National Science Foundation.
The project targets the role microbiomes play in agricultural sustainability, water quality, plant productivity, soil fertility and greenhouse gases.
Kristin Bowman-James, a KU chemistry professor and principal investigator on the project, said microorganisms play important roles that can ultimately impact both human and environmental health.
James Bever, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at KU, said Kansas’ geography and the variations in rainfall across the state makes it ideal for studying microorganisms, which he said keep soil stable and water quality clear.