Monday, October 10, 2016

MicroBiometerTM gives results comparable to Carbon Fumigation and it takes only 12 minutes.

I just spent a marvelous week with Professor Paolo Grazziatti and his soil microbiology team at Universidade Federal dos Vales do Jequitinhonha e Mucuri - UFVJM Campus JK - Diamantina/MG correlating the MicroBiometer™ method with the carbon fumigation method.  Initial results with excellent and Prolific Earth Sciences and UFVJM are continuing the collaboration.  

Microbial Biomass reflects the nutrient value and pH of soil, from Anderson and Joergensen

TH Anderson and RG Joergensen 1997 SoilBiolandBiochem

Reviewed their data showing excellent correlation of Microbial Biomass as calculated by Soil Respiration with the Carbon Fumigation method, R2 = 0.89.  Interesting their data shows that Microbial Biomass is just a reflection of the pH and nutrient value of the soil, R2 = 0.89

Review or “Hotspots of microbial activity induced by earthworm burrows, old root channels, and their combination in subsoil. 
Hoang D.T.T. et al. Biol Fertil Soils 26 September 2016, generously shared by the authors on Research Gate. 

Great article -- reports that Microbial Biomass and Soil organic matter is orders of magnitude increased in earth worm burrows as compared to bulk soil.  Interestingly they show that the quality of the organic matter correlates with the microbial biomass.  Also show that levels of critical nutrients like N and Phosphorous are significantly higher in the burrows where they increase the quality of the nutrients.  They compared biopores made by worms with those, made by decaying roots and those made by root biopores with worms.  The increase in microbial biomass is attributed not only to the increase in substrate but to the quality of the organic material that is created by earth worms as they process soil as shown by the superiority of the burrows inhabited by both decaying roots and worms.  

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Is Roundup killing us?

Dr George Lundberg, at Medscape reported the following -- this is taken verbatim.
"Glyphosate is the most used herbicide in the world, the pride and joy (as well as a great cash cow) of mega-giant chemical manufacturer Monsanto. Although ubiquitous as Roundup® and generally presented for many decades as safe for humans and animals, in 2015 The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World Health Organization labeled glyphosate as "probably carcinogenic to humans."[3]
The European Union (EU) is trying to determine whether Monsanto should have its license to sell Roundup renewed this year. With that renewal in mind, in the spring of 2016, 48 members of the EU Parliament, representing 13 nations, volunteered to have their urine tested for glyphosate. All were found positive by a German lab.[4] In May 2016, a University of California, San Francisco, lab working for The Detox Project, funded by concerned individuals, reported positive urine tests for glyphosate in 93% of 131 urine samples from across the United States.[5]
Okay, but Is It Dangerous?
Is this widespread presence of glyphosate in humans incidental and harmless or are we all in danger of being poisoned by this Monsanto product? That is a very good question.
Remember the gut microbiome? We are learning a great deal about how it influences so much of human health. There is a project called Qmulus, at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and funded in part by Quanta Computers of Taiwan. Under its auspices, authors Anthony Samsel and Stephanie Seneff, in a 40-plus-page review[6] with 286 references, paint a very troubling picture of glyphosate's inhibition of cytochrome P450 enzymes. For example, one role of this enzyme is to detoxify xenobiotics. The authors propose that the consequences of this inhibition, when coupled with other synergistic disruptions, may insidiously induce many diseases associated with a Western diet, including diabetes, obesity, cancer, autism, Alzheimer's, and others.
A 2015 paper[7] by the same authors takes these and new findings and deductions even further to manganese deficiency in cows fed genetically modified Roundup Ready feed. This update is 55 pages long with 328 supporting references. Both are in open access; peruse them if you choose. [Editor's note: Links to the full text of these papers are included with the references.]
I do not know whether the implications of these findings are actually important for human health. Obviously, the considerable power of Monsanto is working hard to make this kind of talk go away.
I have stopped using Roundup. But I did that a while ago to do my small part to keep the milkweed healthy so our Monarch butterflies have something to eat on their long annual Western Hemisphere migration. It is urgent that more independent research (meaning, not funded by industry or tainted government agencies) on glyphosate continue posthaste."

"That is my opinion. I am Dr George Lundberg, at large at Medscape."

Saturday, July 30, 2016

By Judith Fitzpatrick

How do you help us?
Let me count the ways
Your carbon nitrogen and phosphorus
Are perfectly balanced plant buffets 
Your sticky glue gives soil structure
Eliminating erosion freeways
Structure also retains moisture
Cutting down on water outlays  
You are a standing army
Defeating pathogenic forays
And when summer’s orgy ends
Your fungal units start decay
And you store this harvest
Safe and sound ‘til next May
You are the sharpest foragers
Gleaning nutrients from clay

That plants can only get from you. 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Ectomycorrhizal fungi allow plants that are associated with them to overcome nitrogen poor soil conditions.  This article was in 1 July Science.  The authors were trying to determine if a shortage of nitrogen would inhibit the enhanced growth of plants due to increasing CO2 concentrations -- one great hope is that plants can help us remediate the increase in CO2.  They found that plants with these fungi increased soil biomass by 30% and they did not require nitrogen to be added.  Plants that did not have these fungi and were in nitrogen poor soil required added nitrogen to utilize higher CO2 -- even with added nitrogen they got less growth under higher CO2 levels.  So these fungi really facilitate fertilization of the plant by soil nitrogen and added fertilizer.

Ectomycorrhizal fungi are the fungi that attache themselves to the roots of plants and are symbiotic with them.  The plant feeds the fungi and the fungi brings water and nutrients to the plant.  They are more common in temperate zones where over 90% of plants are colonized by these fungi.