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Research article2019Peer reviewed

Enhanced agricultural sustainability through within-species diversification

Yang, Li-Na; Pan, Zhe-Chao; Zhu, Wen; Wu, E-Jiao; He, Dun-Chun; Yuan, Xiao; Qin, Yan-Yu; Wang, Ying; Chen, Ruey-Shyang; Thrall, Peter H; Burdon, Jeremy J; Shang, Li-Ping; Sui, Qi-Jun; Zhan, Jiasui


Agriculture has played an important role in human health and welfare by producing large amounts of food to feed a growing world population, but this has also placed substantial pressures on natural resources and the environment. One of the most pressing challenges in agriculture is how to ensure food security and promote long-term social-economic development while maintaining healthy, sustainable ecosystems capable of quickly adapting to changing environments. Previous studies demonstrated the positive impact of mixed planting strategies on crop productivity as a consequence of reduced disease impact. Here we present data from a series of trials involving within-species diversification of potatoes grown under smallholding conditions, showing that the benefits of mixed planting strategies extend beyond increases in yield, production resilience and reductions in disease, to increased soil microbial diversity, improved soil nutrients and reduced evolution in the associated Phytophthora infestans pathogen. Taken together, these synergistic benefits provide a good opportunity for achieving sustainable agriculture.

Published in

Nature sustainability
2019, Volume: 2, number: 1, pages: 46-52

    Associated SLU-program

    SLU Plant Protection Network

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG2 Zero hunger
    SDG15 Life on land

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Agricultural Science

    Publication identifier


    Permanent link to this page (URI)