UK researcher hopes study can help combat food insecurity

1 in 8 people in Kentucky are facing hunger, according to Feeding America.
Published: Jan. 22, 2023 at 2:30 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - More than 500,000 people in Kentucky are facing hunger. That means 1 in 8 people face hunger in the Commonwealth, according to Feeding America.

“Then, right now, farmers getting these grain crops, but with this climate change, we cannot just keep getting the same quality or same amount of food, and we need to find a way to tackle this problem,” said associate professor in the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, Tomo Kawashima.

Kawashima is leading a study at the University of Kentucky that he says could help combat food insecurity. The research is focused on finding ways to produce larger crop seeds. This would allow farmers to increase their grain yields.

“We use unique technology called confocal microscopy we can actually see inside without killing the seed, so the seed is developing, but actually, we can see through what’s happening in a time-lapse manner,” said Kawashima.

They found cables generated inside of the seed, which controls the seed’s size.

“By manipulating these cable dynamics, we found the seeds can be bigger, or they can be smaller,” said Kawashima.

Kawashima says they realized this was something they could study further...and apply this manipulation to crop plants.

“My work will contribute to the future stability of our food supply,” said Kawashima.