Permaculture soil building, grass control and cover crops
Bacterial cells in carbon-rich media (purple and blue) grow twice as big as those in carbon-poor media (green). New research shows they can grow big, however, only if they can make fats with the carbon.
Fat (lipids) limits how big bacterial cells can be. “If you prevent cells from making fat, they’re smaller, and if you give them extra fat or allow them to make more fat, they get bigger,” said Levin, professor of biology in Arts & Sciences. “Fat makes cells fat.”
“If we hit the cells with an antibiotic that targets fatty-acid synthesis, we really saw a significant drop in cell size” Vadia said.
Also, by turning up FadR, a transcription factor that activates expression of the fatty-acid synthesis genes, the cells got bigger.
“It doesn’t seem to matter what the lipids are, really,” Levin said, “provided you have enough of them. We found we could give the cells oleic acid, a fat found in avocados and olive oil, to supplement diminished fatty-acid synthesis and as long as the added fatty acid got into the membrane, the cells could recover.”
A little place for my stuff | EurekAlert! Science News
Hydrogenation: transform liquid oil into solid fat
Olive Oil Did WHAT to my Triglycerides??!!?? (Pt 2)
From left to right; water, HCl, formic acid, acetic acid, butyric acid, lactic acid, citric acid.
A new study reports a newly discovered biological pathway that is activated in times of drought. By working out the details of this pathway, scientists were able to induce greater tolerance for drought-like conditions simply by growing plants with acetic acid, found in vinegar.
Permaculture Nursery Tour
Perennial Tree Spinach | An Abundant, Nutrient Dense Plant You Should Consider Growing
40 Year Old Food Forest: Gummy Bear Fruit, Bilimbi, Mountain Soursop + (Part 1 of 2)
A Tale of Three Watering Cans, From Lame to Excellent
“Soil organic matter (SOM) derives from dead plant parts in the litter layer”“A fraction of SOM persists because it can resist decomposition.”“The process which converts litter into resistant or “recalcitrant” soil organic matterwas called humification”The product of humification = presumably ‘stable’ organic matter = is called humus
I don’t believe in humification theory. There, I’ve said it. I cringe every time I hear the word humus.
Biochar isn’t even that stable in soil. Unless it’s buried where oxygen doesn’t reach it deep deep in the profile. Something fungi can do with it by embedding it inside soil microaggregates where it won’t be oxidized or access by other organisms. But carbon cycling in soils doesn’t stop there.
How is carbon stored in the soil?
No doubt I’m bound to use the word humus to confuse myself and others too, just a heads up then… 🙂
Comments and Questions 6 20 2017
My only experience with weed mat, was pulling one up, and finding stinky dead earth beneath
Now it sounds like this person’s plastic weed mat caused the soil below it to turn anaerobic due to either a lack of air penetrating the mat or retaining too much moisture which then excluded the air from entering the soil. When this happens the soil begins to anaerobically digest and produce alcohols, phenols, and gasses such as methane, the scent of sewer gas.
Not ideal plant growing conditions!
However there can be benefits when using plastic weed mat in the right conditions that does let air and water through, as the mat can help keep the soil moist, especially in drier regions. Weed mats can also warm or cool the soil depending on how much sunlight they absorb or reflect. They can also help prevent erosion. But the main reason people use it, is because the mats also reduce weed competition for plants planted into or near the weed mat. Reduced competition for water, sunlight, and for nutrients.
However the biggest problem with plastic weed mat when growing and assuming the correct mat was chosen for the conditions, is that if left on for extended periods, the soil often tends to breed plant pathogens. This happens when soils are not amended with a high carbon source such as plant leaf litter, plant exudates, or an organic mulch.
In soils that are kept moist and aerated and warm the microbiology and fauna become more active and will chomp through organic matter like there is no tomorrow. In doing so there is an increase in soil carbon respiration in the form of carbon dioxide and methane along with other gasses. This increase in respiration can actually help increase plant growth by providing carbon dioxide concentrated around the plant leaves. The increase in microbiological activity also increases nutrient cycling and plant available soil nutrients. However if the plants aren’t putting the carbon back into the soil via their roots, exudates, or plant litter when they die – then over the long term the soil community suffers.
When there is a lack of high carbon input that organic mulch provides to soil organisms, competition for that soil carbon increases. And the less soil carbon, the less complex organisms will survive. This is particularly important for fungi that rely on the carbon because they are made up of more carbon than other microbiology. Worse, the fungi that do survive the hostile conditions are often those that are plant predators able to fight for the carbon needed in order to survive because they now lack competition. As a result those predators infect plants and reduce yields or even kill them, and so gardeners and farmers search for solutions to their fungal problems in the form of fungicides. As a result fungi get a bad name. The same happens to nematodes.
However for short season plants like seasonal crops in Kevin’s example, this may not be much of a problem as the plant may be ready for harvest before the predators have overcome a plants defences, and he’s adding organic matter every year.
To conclude, when organic resources are plentiful, everyone’s happy and works in symbiosis, and when they’re not happy it’s war. Not quite extremophile Star Wars, but certainly localised Planet Wars, and eventually those wars include us higher order carbon beings in Human Wars that result from desertification and a lack of resources.
Plastic mulch is also plastic. Did you know that most sea salt already has microplastics in it after a little over 100 years of plastics use?
GERRI Intro to Permaculture Design Small
Bonus Milk Cow:
We Expect 300 Times Last Year’s Harvest