I’m nearly incapable of passing over an article with a strange title. And so it was that I read this scientific article in the Smithsonian Magazine entitled, “The Corn of the Future is Hundreds of Years Old and Makes Its Own Mucus.” How could I possibly skip over that? I ask you.
This corn was found in Oaxaca. It takes 2 to 3 times longer to mature than the corn that you and I are used to. But it can grow in the worst soil conditions imaginable, without any fertilizer. This is great, because fertilizer is really bad for the environment. For example, when it washes into waterways it can cause algae blooms. So yeah, less fertilizer is good.
How can this plant thrive under such conditions? Well, it produces mucus, and that mucus attracts bacteria, and that bacteria pulls nitrogen out of the air and converts it to something the plant can use as natural fertilizer. Isn’t that something?
If that trait could be bred into other plants, we’d need a lot less fertilizer in the world. That would make farming less expensive, and would reduce greenhouse gasses, too. But it would also make farming more slimy. There is that.
I encourage you to read the article for more details. Some of the science is beyond me. But there’s one thing this article didn’t address, and it’s something that I’d dearly love to know. What does this corn taste like? It boggles the mind.
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