A recent article (Dai et al., 2017) reviewed how biochars can be used to decrease soil acidity. Approximately 50% of global arable land has a pH value < 5.5 and is considered acid. Soil acidification occurs by:
Removal of farm products; and
Application of ammonium-based fertilizers.
Soil acidity increases toxic metal availability, especially aluminum and manganese, and reduce nutrient availability including phosphorus, base cations (potassium, calcium, magnesium), and molybdenum.
Improving food production is a great challenge of the 21st century – not just in terms of yield, but in terms of nutritional quality, with nutrient minerals research gaining momentum. Research published by (Raliya et al., 2016) looked at improving rock phosphate application by adding biosynthesized ZnO nanoparticles. Zinc acts as a co-factor in phosphorus-solubilizing enzymes. Additional benefits included increased stem height, root volume, leaf proteins and chlorophyll contents. ZnO nanoparticles were also distributed in all plant parts including the seeds in low concentrations, with implications for nutrition. Additional success has been also been acheived through foliar applications of nanoparticle nutrient minerals (Wang et al., 2013). Continue reading Improving food production through nutrient minerals nanotechnology→
In 2004, I was fortunate to spend time with Dr Joel Wallach, a veterinarian and naturopathic doctor when he was lecturing in Australia. This meeting brought to life the intricate link between soil health-plant health-human health. I was able to interview him at that time and I was reminded of this interview after reviewing the FAO infographic. If you are interested in this interview, you can sign up for the audios by filling out the form below. Continue reading Soil: The Foundation of Mineral Nutrition and Optimal Health→
Can Soil Management Strategies Mitigate Extreme Weather?
Written just 2 years after Hurricane Katrina hit, Manale (2007) describes the importance of soil carbon in flood control:
“What does soil carbon have in common with Hurricane Katrina, ….the Great Upper Mississippi Flood of 1993, and the Red River Flood of 1997? For each of these extreme weather and flooding events, substantial investments in soil carbon, and thus soil organic matter in upland and coastal soils, could have saved the public both trouble and money.” Continue reading Soil Management Strategies Mitigate Extreme Weather→
10 Quotes from Andre Voisin on the importance of Soil Mineral Balance
In a recent post, I looked at the link between soil microbial health and gut microbial health and it inspired to go back and review a book published in 1959. In Soil, Grass, and Cancer: Health of Animals and Men is Linked to the Mineral Balance of the Soil, André Voisin described the importance of elements of the soil and their effects on plants, and ultimately, animal and human life. He saw the hidden danger in the gross oversimplification of fertilization practices that use harsh chemicals and ignore the delicate balance of trace minerals and nutrients in the soil. Voisin issues a call to stand up and acknowledge our responsibilities for public health and protective medicine to remove the causes of ill health, disease and, in particular, cancer. Continue reading Voisin on Soil Mineral Balance→
Soil is considered a major store of soil containing more than three times the organic carbon in the atmosphere (Lal, 2003). Land surface models only account for the effects of net primary production and heterotrophic respiration (King et al., 1997). An article published this week in Nature Climate Change (Chappell et al., 2015) has proposed that SOC flux should include losses (and gains) due to soil erosion (and deposition). Looking at several long-term experimental plots in Australia, and estimating net soil erosion using three approaches, the results were incorporated into RothC (a model for the turnover of organic carbon in topsoil) to estimate net C flux with and without soil erosion. Using this approach, the model showed a consistent under-estimate of net C flux in the presence of soil erosion.