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Agriculture

Did You Know Why Some Plants Eat Meat? 

Venus flytrap - dionaea muscipula with trapped fly

Nutrient availability affects growth, quality, reproduction, and disease resilience of plants, including crops. Plants need 16 different elements, just like we all need vitamins to be healthy [1]. Some plants have even evolved ingenious ways to eat insects to overcome nitrogen deficiency in their habitats [2].

By understanding which nutrients are needed, farmers can provide specific supplements to help crops reach their full potential. In 2021, researchers achieved a record tomato yield of 121kg in one square meter [3]. This was done by combining plant breeding, greenhouse technology and optimal nutrition. 

It is interesting to ask what theoretical yield limits could be for other crops and how these could be achieved sustainably. Science and innovation would clearly have much to contribute in this context.

A fly in a carnivorous plant

Hungry Venus flytraps snap shut on a host of unfortunate flies | Life - BBC

[1] The essential plant nutrients (Cropaia)

[2] Quantification of insect nitrogen utilization by the venus fly trap Dionaea muscipula catching prey (Oxford Academic)

[3] New record yield for Dutch greenhouse: 121 kg per m2 (hortidaily)