November 21, 2023 By Greg Basky, Canadian Light Source
Using the Canadian Light Source (CLS) at the University of Saskatchewan, scientists from Cornell University and Purdue University have identified a previously undiscovered mechanism triggered by calcium when it’s added to soil. Their findings could lead to more strategic use of the mineral in agriculture.
Researchers already knew that calcium impacts the way organic matter is stabilized in soil. What wasn’t known was whether calcium had an effect on which microbes were involved and how they acted. Microbes are microscopic organisms that live in the air, soil and water; in soil, they process soil organic matter and help promote plant growth.
The team’s findings can potentially benefit agricultural producers by giving them another tool to help maintain and improve the organic matter in their soils.
“Now that we have a better understanding of how calcium can impact how microbes improve soil carbon, we can perhaps use soil amendments that contain calcium and are already being used by farmers – such as lime and gypsum – in a way that can benefit soil organic matter,” says lead researcher Itamar Shabtai, an assistant scientist with the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. |READ MORE
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