Soil Biology

Where Ag chemicals have been used, some biological species and their functions have been harmed. This impedes the natural nutrient cycle by interfering in the process of decomposition of plant and animal wastes. The work of Paul Stamets, an expert on fungi explains how vital they are and how their incredible functions are not only required for the decomposition of waste material, but also their ability to break down toxic chemical residues and radioactivity. Although they have this incredible capacity the fungi cannot handle direct chemical application, yet can flourish and break down chemical residues given the right environment.

Experiments in soils inoculated with an array of specific fungal species, in a highly electrical environment proved Stamets work to be accurate. . A flow on effect of this is that soil sample comparisons are showing that more nutrients become available in soils colonised by specific. fungi The soil test results below are from samples taken 20 meters apart. The “fairy ring” samples were taken from soil under a ring of mushrooms and the other sample from soil 20 meters away without mushrooms. This clearly demonstrates soil fungi’s role in making plant nutrients available.

 

Vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhiza (VAM)

Once the decomposition and detoxification processes of the soil have taken place symbiotic Vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhiza (VAM) begin to function. Research has shown that the VAM interaction between soil and plant requires a healthy environment. These species are known to proliferate in all agricultural production except for some plants of the brassica family. When fully functional VAM effectively extends plant root mass and they provide the components for solubilising soil minerals and transporting those minerals to the plant in exchange for plant sugars that are exudated through the plant roots.

VAM also has the capability of regulating soil water by moving water from damp areas to plants that are water deficient. They are also a vital part of a plants defense mechanism. The use of soluble phosphate fertilisers disrupts VAM function. The plant can access the soluble phosphate nutrient directly which means that the VAMs nutrient contribution is not required. The plant will disconnect the VAM leaving it without an energy source. The plants are then totally dependent on their roots for nutrients and on subsequent soluble fertiliser applications. The plant’s root mass is not sufficient to allow the plant to luxury feed so it exists in a state of malnutrition; a state that is attractive to pathogenic fungi, bacteria, viruses and insect pests.

 

 

 

Cyanobacteria

Decomposition and detoxification of the soil also enhances the environment to a state where cyanobacteria can function. These single cell organisms are nature’s most effective nitrogen sequester and absorb more carbon than any other known organism on the planet. What is not so widely known is that this function can take place in environmentally challenging conditions. Visual proliferation of nature is expressed each spring in the Artic and Antartic waters where cyanobacteria produce algal blooms that are the beginning of the food chain.

 

 

 

 

In arid deserts when the rains finally come cyanobacteria break dormancy and supply the natural nitrogen and other nutrients that create the “flowering desert. The soil / plant nutrient cycle and the soil carbon cycle does not function effectively and sustainably without Cyanobacteria’s contribution. oTheir prolific growth promotes carbon sequestration as humus, which is a major source of non leachable plant available nutrient, especially the major anions nitrogen, sulphur and phosphorus.

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