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Soil Care Network Newsletter

November 2018

by Anna Krzywoszyńska

Research

  • An antibiotic present in soil may prove effective against antibiotic-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis — the bacteria responsible for tuberculosis, according to a study published in Nature Communications

  • Soil is truly ‘the poor man’s [sic] rainforest’ – 13 new species of Myriapoda discovered in Estonian soils, and 16 new ‘giant viruses’ discovered in Massachusetts, and a chance soil sampling uncovers an organism so different to any other life form to have its own supra-kingdom, hemmastigotes

  • Yet again the properties of soil bacteria create hopes for climate change mitigation – this time through nitrous dioxide sequestration

  • An invasive earthworm species is changing the soils across the US

  • Changes in climate influence the make-up of soil biota in the long term

  • A new study of the role microbial communities play on the leaves of plants suggests that fertilizing crops may make them more susceptible to disease.

  • Pesticides discovered to have serious longevity in soils, raising concerns about their combined effects on e.g. soil biota. ”The study "Pesticide residues in European agricultural soils: a hidden reality unfolded" concluded that 83% of said samples contained pesticide residues (76 different types of compounds). Some 58% of that percentage were mixes of pesticides, as opposed to 25% which came from a single type of substance. Glyphosate, DDT (banned since the 1970s) and broad-spectrum fungicides were the main compounds detected.”

  • Evidence of falling fertility of Irish soils

  • New findings relevant to the dream of soil carbon storage. “Marc Kramer, an associate professor of environmental chemistry at WSU Vancouver, drew on new data from soils around the world to describe how water dissolves organic carbon and takes it deep into the soil (…) Scientists still need to find a way to take advantage of this finding and move some of the atmosphere’s extra carbon underground, but Kramer says the soils can easily retain more.”

 

Soils in the news

Editorials, blogs and opinion

Resources

  • Living Soil, a 60-minute documentary about soil health featuring innovative farmers and soil health experts from throughout the U.S. The film is freely available to download and stream at

  • A great review of the movie The Land Beneath Our Feet, produced by Gregg Mitman and Sarita Siegel (University of Wisconsin-Madison and Alchemy Films), is an in-depth ethnographic portrayal of processes of land grabbing and dispossession of rural communities in Liberia