Guest Blog: 2012 GRAD Internship Recipient Explains Research

Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Featured Guests

Each year, Bayer CropScience selects one outstanding graduate student for the Graduate Recruitment and Development Program (GRAD), which provides tuition assistance as well as a remarkable research environment for students completing their graduate theses. Once a student completes his or her program work and all degree requirements, each student in the GRAD program will be considered for placement in a full-time position with Bayer CropScience in the U.S. We proudly introduce you to the 2012 GRAD Program award recipient, Auburn University grad student Mark Durham.

Mark explains his research on the growth of the root bacteria rhizobacteria (PGPR) and its effects on the growth and health of agronomic crops:

My research is focused on using biological treatments to enhance crop management. Our lab works with PGPRs (Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria) which are a group of bacteria found in the soil that promote plant growth. My work specifically deals with one strain of bacteria, Bacillus firmus GB126, and characterizing its effects on different crops such as corn, cotton, and soybean. We are also looking into the effects of colonization in soils with different soil textures (ex: sandy soils to clay soils). With a growing interest toward using more environmentally friendly solutions in agricultural management, Bacillus firmus is one of many PGPRs emerging that offers such solutions while maintaining the efficacy of more conventional treatment means.

This research is able to be conducted thanks in part to the BCS GRAD award. In appreciation, I hope this brief summary of some of the work being done at Auburn University demonstrates how this award is being put to use. I also appreciate your time for reading this. Thank you from Auburn University’s Department of Plant Pathology!

About Mark Durham:

A Georgia native, Mark earned his undergraduate degree from Auburn University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Agronomy and Soil Science. He made his way back to the Plains of Auburn where he is pursuing a Master’s in Plant Pathology and Entomology. Durham focuses his research on root colonization of the rhizobacterium GB126 on corn, cotton and soybeans.

Keep up the great work Mark and we appreciate everything you are doing to help propel farming’s future! Leave us a comment below or send us a tweet at @Bayer4CropsUS.


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