Specifically, researchers are working with auxin, a hormone that is known to influence almost all aspects of plant growth. Until recently it was not known which factors of auxin affect root system architecture. But the Salk team has identified a gene that controls the auxin pathway to regulate root system architecture without disrupting other plant functions. By working with auxin and the gene, researchers found that the orientation of the root system can shift roots to grow deeper into the soil.
While ambitious, Mountain Philanthropies hopes the research leads to a major breakthrough that can accelerate large scale carbon removal from the atmosphere. The fact that this approach is also harnessing natural materials is especially compelling to our Partners, with science helping the Earth ‘heal itself’ from the damage created by the human species.