The research priority of the UMES Plant and Soil Science area is environmental stewardship, encompassing nutrient management, biological control of undesirable microbes, crop improvement, and seed nutritional quality. While soybean is the most important crop in this region, its productivity is much lower than the national average due to severe environmental and biological stresses. The Delmarva Peninsula’s high concentration of poultry farms for over 50 years has resulted in soil and water contamination with phosphorous, nitrogen, and heavy metals.
Research on solutions is multidisciplinary, for example:
Use of native microorganisms to enhance growth and nutritional quality of soybean and other legumes. This project researches aspects of the potential development and use of multidimensional microbial inoculant containing native microorganisms to enhance crop growth, productivity and seed nutritional quality without the use of chemical fertilizers.
Bacteriophage therapy. UMES is considered the lead U.S. institution in developing and using this innovative approach to control undesirable soil bacteria.
Identification of soybean and corn genotypes for Phosphorus Hyper-accumulation. This project seeks to identify soybean, corn, Sudan grass, and sorghum germplasm with enhanced P-absorbing or hyper-accumulation capacity.
Identification of drought-tolerant cowpea genotypes for the Delmarva ecosystem to sustain crop production and serve as an insurance crop against loss of income from drought.
Funding: CSREES/ USDA 1890 Capacity Building Grant, Evans-Allen funds and UMES-NSF Action Program
Contact: Dr. Robert B. Dadson, firstname.lastname@example.org; Dr. Fawzy M. Hashem, email@example.com; Dr. IqbalJavaid, Ijavaid@umes.edu