Biotechnology can be used to improve soil health but that’s not necessarily happening the way it is being used today, the keynote speaker at the World Congress on Conservation Agriculture said. David Montgomery, author of Dirt, The Erosion of Civilizations and a professor of geomorphology at the University of Washington told the conference biotechnology does not have to be at odds with conservation agriculture.
“I would basically argue that if we reframed how we evaluate agriculture to be towards building soil and building soil fertility, then the degree to which anything, GMO products included, could work towards that goal should be considered,” he said.
However, that doesn’t mean current biotechnology is necessarily benefiting soil health, Montgomery noted, only that biotechnology could be developed with soil health in mind. For example, plants could be engineered to facilitate symbiosis with soil bacteria similar to that which occurs between legumes and ribosomes, he said.
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