High School Girls Make Pea-Sized Discovery that Could Help Solve World Hunger

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Here’s a story that proves you’re never too young to make a difference in the world. Scientific American, recently reported on the winners of Google’s fourth annual Science Fair. Among the winners were a group of three, sixteen-year-old girls from Ireland.

Emer Hickey, Ciara Judge, and Sophie Healy happened to notice a nodule growing on a pea plant. Upon further investigation they found that the wart-like growth holds a bacteria that produces compounds that helps plants grow faster. This simple discovery may have huge implications in regards to solving the problem of world hunger. Scientific American explains,

Though many people told them that the bacteria would have no impact on cereal crops, the friends decided to test it on barley. They found that the microbes increased seed germination rates by 50 percent.”

The girls continued testing over the course of three years, setting up a controlled field site in which to conduct their experiments on thousands of seeds. As described in, National Geographic,

Since soil bacteria are naturally occurring, the teens emphasized that the process of inoculating seeds to increase plant growth would be feasible and inexpensive.”

Their success is extremely promising. In addition to lessening the problem of world hunger, it could very well play a part in reducing the need for pesticides as well.

PHOTO: courtesy of irishexaminer.com

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