Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
  Energy News  




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



FARM NEWS
What makes soil, soil? Researchers find hidden clues in DNA
by Staff Writers
Manchester UK (SPX) Dec 06, 2017


This is Botswana soil crust found on trip to the country.

Ever wondered what makes a soil, soil? And could soil from the Amazon rainforest really be the same as soil from your garden?

Researchers at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) and The University of Manchester, UK, are using DNA sequencing to unlock the secrets of the world's different soils and, for the first time, analysing ecological patterns and microbial communities on a global scale.

The research team, made up of 36 scientists from around the world, collated and analysed data on soil bacteria from 21 different countries. In all they looked at over 1900 soils, containing over 8000 bacterial groups.

The study, which was published in Nature Microbiology, gives new insight into the bacteria that make a soil a soil, and how our soils are functioning and responding to global challenges, such as climate change.

The research found that some groups of bacteria always show up in soil, no matter where it is collected from on the planet. No matter if that is in a field in the UK or the forest floor in the Amazon rainforest - they are constant. But other bacteria are pickier, and those are the ones we should pay attention to say the researchers. That's because these bacteria could hold clues to what makes some soils more fertile and excellent for planting crops when compared to others.

Dr Kelly Ramirez, from NIOO-KNAW, explains: "When we see a cactus, we know we are in a desert, when we see a palm tree we know we are in the tropics, and when we see a grass we could be almost anywhere. This same idea, that species indicate a habitat, is true for soils, but instead of using plants we use soil bacteria. But if you were to pick up a handful of soil from your garden, from a forest, or even a meadow it would probably be hard to tell the difference."

However, the microbial communities that live within the world's soils are more diverse and contain more individuals than any other species groups on the planet, and can tell us a lot about a their origins.

Dr Franciska de Vries, from The University of Manchester's School of Earth and Environmental Sciences (SEES), added: "In the soil these bacteria help plants grow, cycle carbon and keep our ecosystems functioning. Scientists all over the world are studying these important bacteria, but they are all using different techniques and keeping all the information organized is a challenge. So we decided to try and find a way to consolidate all the research and bring it together."

That is when Dr Chris Knight, also from SEES and the paper's co-author, brought his expertise to the study. An expert in microbial and computational modelling, he used a specific technique that could accommodate thousands of bacterial species. The 'machine learning' method allowed the team to evaluate all the species and match them to different environmental factors and to each other.

Dr Knight added: "What resulted was a new and clearer picture of the roles of particular groups of bacteria in shaping communities of soil bacteria. Some bacteria are common, but how many turn up in any particular soil has more to do with the details of how they were measured than any real differences among soils. Some are so rare that you only ever see them in a handful of soils of any sort, which doesn't say much. But in between there are informative families of bacteria that indicate real differences among types of soil."

Research paper

FARM NEWS
UN dishes up prickly pear cactus in answer to food security
Rome (AFP) Nov 30, 2017
The prickly pear cactus, considered an essential food in Mexico, could be the answer to much of the world's food security woes, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said Thursday. "While most cacti are inedible, the Opuntia species has much to offer, especially if treated like a crop rather than a weed run wild," the FAO said in a statement. The UN organisation - which conve ... read more

Related Links
University of Manchester
Farming Today - Suppliers and Technology


Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

FARM NEWS
First global maps of traits that drive vegetation growth

French NGO helps African mums shake off AIDS stigma

UK-built satellite shines first light on air pollution

China launches remote sensing satellites in multiple launches

FARM NEWS
DARPA digging for ideas to revolutionize subterranean mapping

China's GPS network Beidou joins global rescue data network

Galileo quartet fuelled and ready to fly

China's BeiDou Navigation Satellite System Expands Into a Global Network

FARM NEWS
NASA Survey Technique Estimates Congo Forest's Carbon

Greenpeace slams Indonesia palm oil industry on deforestation

Amazon's recovery from forest losses limited by climate change

Poland says compliant with EU court order against ancient forest logging

FARM NEWS
Breakthrough process for directly converting methane to methanol

Convert methane to hydrogen without forming carbon dioxide at low-cost

Brazilian ethanol can replace 13 percent of global crude oil consumption

The water world of ancient photosynthetic organisms

FARM NEWS
Gore Mountain ski resort completes massive solar farm

Windows of opportunity: Solar cell with improved transparency

Burkina, France launch W.Africa's biggest solar plant

NREL develops switchable solar window

FARM NEWS
U.S. wind turbines getting taller and more efficient

New wind farm in service off the British coast

End tax credits for wind energy, Tennessee Republican says

New York sets high bar for wind energy

FARM NEWS
Battle lines drawn over coal at UN climate talks

Anti-coal drive at UN climate talks stalked by pro-coal White House

Protest at open-pit coal mine near Bonn ahead of UN climate talks

Coal still holds a slight edge as U.S. power source

FARM NEWS
Chinese teacher used needles to 'discipline' children: police

Tibetan monk self-immolates in China: campaigners

Shanghai schools fly the flag for China's next generation

Chinese general kills himself after facing graft probe




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement