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Podcast / Inside Food science
Podcast / Inside Food science

The rhizosphere – the mysterious world crucial to the future of food

There is a bewildering world beneath our feet that is both teeming with life and crucial to the global food system.

It is a narrow, constantly moving, ever evolving, region within the soil known as the rhizosphere and it is vital to the health of crops and the land itself.

A healthy rhizosphere is filled with a diverse range of microorganisms, which means taking care of it is anything but simple.

In fact, there is lots we do not know about this complex region, or about the way those microorganisms interact with the soil and crops.

In this episode of the Food Matters Live podcast, made in partnership with Anglo American, we delve into what we do know about the rhizosphere and gain an understanding of what else science is trying to learn about it.

The prospect of acquiring new knowledge makes this a fascinating topic, and we know that gaining a greater understanding of the rhizosphere is crucial to the future of farming.

There are few people in the world who know more about this topic than our guest, Soil Scientist, Kathryn Bartlett.

Kathryn Bartlett, Soil Scientist, Anglo American Crop Nutrients

Kathryn is a soil scientist who is working on unpicking the interactions between polyhalite and soils. 

Building up this understanding of interactions will unlock new and innovative crop nutrient solutions as part of a global need to improve soil health/performance that enhances crop nutrient use efficiency and land management practices. 

Kathryn holds a PhD in soil Microbial Ecology in arable agricultural systems from the National Soils Resources Institute, Silsoe, Cranfield University, she has worked on projects ranging from nutrient cycling in northern peatlands through to helping inform UK soils policy. 

She is an honorary member of the British Society of Soil Science.

Previous episodes featuring Anglo American

Why everyone’s talking about nutrient use efficiency

Biodiversity in soil – why it matters to us all

How do we stop the rapid erosion of essential soils?

Can regenerative agriculture fix our food system?

What can be done to ensure that agricultural practices are sustainable?

POLY4 Fertilizer

POLY4 is the trademark name for polyhalite products from Anglo American. It is a naturally-occurring, low-chloride, multi-nutrient fertilizer certified for organic use.

It includes four of the six key macro nutrients that all plants need to grow: potassium, sulphur, magnesium and calcium, and a range of valuable micro nutrients.

It allows farmers to maximise their crop yield, increase quality and improve soil structure with one simple product.

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