What inspires plant scientists and why is their job so important? Francisco Barro Losada explains:
Why did you want to be a scientist?
I think science is one of the few vocations that demands such a level of passion and intensity.
What crops do you study?
I work with both bread and durum wheat.
How is plant science used to protect crops?
Agriculture has been feeding the world for the last 10000 years. Plant science is helping to develop new crops, with desirable characteristics to sustainably feed a growing population. The crops are subject to tremendous pressures in the fields, mainly biotic and abiotic stresses, but also quality. It is in these three pillars that we work intensely to protect crops -the development of new varieties, new agricultural techniques and more efficient use of nutrients and water.
Why is your profession important in the challenge to feed the world?
Scientific knowledge is the basis to understand what we need and how to get it. The world’s population is increasing, and scientific knowledge must increase even faster to provide quality food, this is the challenge. However, we cannot reach this if farmers can not apply the solutions provided by science. The best example are genetically modified organisms; they are safe and can contribute in the task of feeding the world.
What inspires you about your job?
We can use plant biotechnology to make few adaptations and yield big results in return. It is also fantastically inspirational to see the people you are helping
Who is your Food Hero?
There are many, but Dr. Norman Borlaug, father of the Green Revolution, is on top.
Francisco is a leading plant scientist at the Institute for Sustainable Agri culture AS-CSIC.