American science journal publishes Thai teen’s paper


The Journal of Emerging Investigators has chosen to publish a peer-reviewed scientific paper on an innovative approach to farming written by a Thai teenager studying in the U.S., heralding a new talent among Thailand’s younger generation.

Karit “Keith” Matanachai, a 17-year-old Thai high school student at an American boarding school, wrote the scientific paper titled “Impact of Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi on Growth of Phaseolus Vulgaris under Varying Soil Conditions of Salinity and Phosphorus.”

In plain English, the paper examines the results of using a particular fungus as fertilizer in farming. The Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi, or AMF, helps with the intake of nutrients and resists poor soil conditions in exchange for sugars and carbon from plants such as rice and corn. The result is larger and healthier rice and corn.

“Seeing that fungi are not widely used in agriculture yet excites me because there is still major progress to be made in this field,” said Karit. “Using scientific research for farming fascinated me. I saw the importance and applicability of agricultural research to increase crop yields or to make the lives of farmers easier.”

Many farmers can be resistant to change, and have been using the same fertilizer formulas for years despite the fact that the condition of their soil has changed drastically.

Keith said that he hopes to help Thai farmers improve their efficiency through his findings. He would like to see the government create standardized procedures to test soil pH and adjust fertilizer formulas regularly.

Keith is also a contender the Regeneron Science Talent Search, one of America’s most prestigious science, technology, engineering and math research competitions. If he makes the cut, he would be among the top 300 young science scholars in the U.S.

Photo courtesy of