Healthy Soil

It Takes a Community of Soil Microbes to Protect Plants from Disease

ScienceDaily (May 7, 2011) — Those vegetables you had for dinner may have once been protected by an immune system akin to the one that helps you fight disease. Scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the Netherland’s Wageningen University found that plants rely on a complex community of soil microbes to defend themselves against pathogens, much the way mammals harbor a raft of microbes to avoid infections.

The scientists deciphered, for the first time, the group of microbes that enables a patch of soil to suppress a plant-killing pathogen. Previous research on the phenomenon of disease-suppressive soil had identified one or two pathogen-fighting microbes at work.

But the Berkeley Lab-led team found a complex microbial network. After analyzing soil from a sugar beet field that had become resistant to a pathogen that causes root fungus, the scientists found 17 soil microbes fighting to suppress the pathogen. They also determined that all of the microbes work together to reduce the incidence of fungal infection. Their discovery that plants use a tight-knit army of soil microbes for defense could help scientists develop ways to better protect the world’s food crops from devastating diseases.

“Individual organisms have been associated with disease-suppressive soil before, but we demonstrated that many organisms in combination are associated with this phenomenon,” says Gary Andersen of Berkeley Lab’s Earth Sciences Division. He conducted the research with fellow Berkeley Lab scientists Todd DeSantis and Yvette Piceno as well as several scientists from the Netherlands including Wageningen University’s Jos Raaijmakers. Their research is published in the May 5 issue of Science Express.

Living Soil Resources

This list was compiled by Pamela Berstler from the G3 Green Garden Group

United States Department of Agriculture – Natural Resources Conservation Service

Soil Biology Authors:

Elaine R. Ingham
Andrew R. Moldenke, Oregon State University
Clive A. Edwards, The Ohio State University

Visit the USDA Soil Biology Website

The Soil Foodweb

“Soil Foodweb Technology is based on years of research by many different people. All science builds on previous science, the efforts of scientists to understand why the world works the way it does. Science is an on-going process of quantitative assessment and understanding of mechanisms on which life is based.”

These world wide lavatories for soil testing, research and eduction are the brain child of Dr.  Elaine R. Ingham.

Visit the Soil Foodweb Website

Agri-Turf Supplies, Inc.

Local Santa Barbara Landscape Supply and Services Company. Supplies Compost Tea Services and organic amendments.
Read a Story about Agri-Turf Owner George Schnackenberg
Visit the Agri-Turf Website

Click to access santa-barbara-food-home.pdf


“Earth Fortification Supplies is a partner company with Soil Foodweb Oregon. Earthfort brings the Soil Foodweb science into practical application. They provide soil amendments, compost tea brewers, composting equipment and educational literature.”

Visit the Earthfort Website

Keep It Simple, Inc.

What is compost tea?
“Compost tea is an aerobic water solution that has extracted the microbe population from compost along with the nutrients. In simple terms, it is a concentrated liquid created by a process to increase the numbers of beneficial organisms as an organic approach to plant/soil care.”

This company offers soil information and products like Tea Brewing system, Bio-Amendments, Books and CD.

Visit the Keep It Simple Website

Malibu Compost

Malibu Compost’s Biodynamic® Compost blend start with a base of manure and Biodynamic preparations. Go to their website for more information.

Visit the Malibu Compost Website

Compost Teana’s

Aerated Compost Tea services for your organic landscape.  Certified G3 Professional and Certified Soil Foodweb Web Advisor 2011.
Visit the Compost Teana Website

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