(Zeiss.com) Tackling Food Insecurity with Plant Fungus, Microbes, and AI Microscopy

How to tackle food insecurity: it’s the urgent question on the mind of research scientist Keith Duncan. He zones in on plants and crops – finding methods to help them sustain climate change in some of the world’s hardest hit areas. Using X-ray microscopy, Duncan captures images that no one else on the planet has ever seen before.

Keith Duncan’s love of microscopy started at an early. age But what was the moment that piqued his curiosity? The hundreds of dead elm trees surrounding his childhood home. “A fungal disease killed all of them. They were simply removed and cut down” he remembers – it was the first time he realized that trees get sick and die. As the son of a medical researcher, Duncan knew he had his first samples: a stack of cut wood with chipped off bark and intricate patterns underneath. When peering at them through the microscope, Duncan says he saw a fluffy white material – the deadly fungus that had wiped out the trees. The image imprinted on his mind. It was the first time he understood “the enormous impact of microbes on the world around us” he says. From that moment onwards, plant science became his fascination. Learn more in this Zeiss.com article!