Researchers at Northern Arizona University found evidence that soils use different biochemical pathways to process nutrients, respire, and grow, depending on the type of soil and perhaps other factors. Using the 13C metabolic flux analysis technique, the researchers were able to tag individual carbon atoms in a glucose molecule in much the same way wildlife is caught and tagged to be identified at a later date. They then added that labeled glucose molecule to a marsh soil, an alpine conifer forest soil, and a cool desert grassland soil and found stunning results. Carbon dioxide was produced from different carbon atoms depending on the soil type. This suggests that the soil microbial community is using a different biochemical route to process sugar.

This means that moving forward, it will be harder to generalize land management results from one soil type to another. But if we begin discovering how the microbiome of soil reacts under certain conditions, then we will be truly able to harness the power of soil biology for regeneration and sustainable health.

Read more on soilforwater.org/category/blog.

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