Wageningen University teams up with Microsoft, Tencent, and Intel to test Artificial Intelligence for growing Cucumbers

Neural network example

There is a challenge under way where the worlds top tech companies are working on finding the best methods for using Artificial Intelligence and automation to grow plants.

 SoilGrids (the output of a system for automated global soil mapping) are the main products.

SoilGrids (the output of a system for automated global soil mapping) are the main products.

Wageningen University staff enter the greenhouse to do things like remove cucumbers or cut leaves, but an algorithm informed by sensors controls about 20 inputs, such as roof ventilation, artificial lighting, and heating, that affect plant growth.”

The Venture Beat article “Why Microsoft, Tencent, and Intel are growing cucumbers in autonomous greenhouses” goes onto say

“A jury primarily made up of Wageningen University research staff will choose winners based on their resource efficiency, the robustness of their AI model, and the sustainability of methods they use to grow cucumbers.

Cucumbers were chosen as the test crop because of the amount of existing modeling data and know-how available, Hemming said.”

The Challenge issued by the CXO of Tencent:
“The Challenge
The goal of the challenge is to produce a cucumber crop within 4 months inside a greenhouse remotely! Greenhouse space and controls will be provided by WUR and the teams are allowed to provide their own sensors and cameras.

Each team will be able to extract necessary data from the greenhouse compartment and add their own ICT/models/machine learning algorithms in order to decide on the control settings for the next day or period.”

The rules can be found here and their goals are listed on the autonomousgreenhouses.com website.

Do Endophytes Promote Growth of Host Plants Under Stress?

bean plant life cycle

A Meta-Analysis on Plant Stress Mitigation by Endophytes

Hyungmin Rho 1 & Marian Hsieh 1 & Shyam L. Kandel1 & Johanna Cantillo 2 &
Sharon L. Doty1 & Soo-Hyung Kim 1

Abstract

Endophytes are microbial symbionts living inside plants and have been extensively researched in recent decades for their functions associated with plant responses to environmental stress. We conducted a meta-analysis of endophyte effects on host plants’ growth and fitness in response to three abiotic stress factors: drought, nitrogen deficiency, and excessive salinity. Ninety-four endophyte strains and 42 host plant species from the literature were evaluated in the analysis. Endophytes increased biomass accumulation of host plants under all three stress conditions. The stress mitigation effects by endophytes were similar among different plant taxa or functional groups with few exceptions; eudicots and C4 species gained more biomass than monocots and C3 species with endophytes, respectively, under drought conditions. Our analysis supports the effectiveness of endophytes in mitigating drought, nitrogen deficiency, and salinity stress in a wide range of host species with little evidence of plant-endophyte specificity.

Keywords

Bacteria, fungi, yeast, Drought stress, nitrogen stress, salinity stress, Effect size Endophytes, Meta-analysis, Plant biomass

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Diazotrophic Endophytes of Poplar and Willow for Growth Promotion of Rice Plants in Nitrogen-Limited Conditions

US botanic gardens Washington DC 2016

S. L. Kandel, N. Herschberger, S.H. Kim, and S. L. Doty*
School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, College of the Environment, Univ. of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195-2100. Received 20 Aug. 2014. Accepted 16 Mar. 2015. *Corresponding author (sldoty@uw.edu).

Abbreviations:

  • BNF, biological N fiation;
  • GFP, green florescent protein;
  • IAA, indole-3-acetic acid;
  • MG/L, Mannitol Glutamate/Luria;
    MS, Murashige–Skoog;
  • NL-CCM, N-limited combined C medium.
    ABSTRACT
    rice (Oryza sativa L.) is one of the most important staple food crops. Its cultivation requires a relatively high input of N fertilizers; however, rice plants do not absorb a signifiant proportion of added fertilizers, resulting in soil and water pollution. The use of diazotrophic (N-fiing) endophytes can provide benefis for rice cultivation by reducing the demand of N fertilizers. Diazotrophic endophytes from the early successional plant species poplar (Populus trichocarpa Torr. & A. Gray) and willow (Salix sitchensis C. A. Sanson ex Bong.) were added to rice seedlings.
    Inoculated rice plants were grown in N-limited conditions in the greenhouse, and plant physical characteristics were assessed. Endophyte-inoculated rice plants had greater biomass, higher tiller numbers, and taller plant stature than mockinoculated controls. Endophyte populations were quantifid and visualized in planta within rice plants using florescent microscopy. The endophytes colonized rice plants effectively in both roots and foliage. These results demonstrated that diazotrophic endophytes of the eudicots poplar and willow can colonize rice plants and enhance plant growth in N-limited conditions.

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