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Biogardening bites…
Every few months we'll share with you some “bites” of the latest scientific research related to growing food and the nutritional character of this food. Here’s our first serve…
 
Mushrooms have been discovered to contain a natural antibiotic compound called copsin with the same effect as traditional antibiotics.  The specific mushroom tested and found to have these properties has the common name of “inky cap mushroom” This research came from scientists at the University of Bonn and ETH Zurich.
 
Plants have their own sunscreen that has an SPF factor that is off the charts. This plant chemical allows plants to bask in the sun whilst avoiding the negative aspects of harmful ultraviolet B radiation. This research was led by Timothy Zwier
 
The addition of biochar to soils has the effect of moderating soil water drainage – faster in clay soils and slower in sandy soils. Rebecca Barnes was the lead author of this research. (biochar is one of the many amendments in Vital Veggies garden soil)
 
It all comes back to philosophical differences, according to Mela Press et al, in a recent publication The Journal of Marketing.  The researchers surveyed both chemical and organic farmers and discovered how each group rationalise their actions based on their philosophical position.  Organic farmers often expressed the joy of bringing the earth back to life whilst chemical farmers considered organic growers to be unscientific with an “organic crop guru.
 
Urban farming is making a growing contribution to global food production according to Dray Dreschel who is a co-author of the report.  They attribute growing your own food as improving food security and more sustainable development.  Leading the charge are western countries where urban farming is seen as cool which contrasts with its image in developing economies.
 
Cellulose busters have been identified in the human lower intestine that have the prospect of being more potent in the task of breaking down cellulose than the microbes found in a cow’s rumen. These human microbes break down plant fibres into simple sugars for fermentation into nutrients to nourish of human cells.
 
Yet another study on tomatoes identifies a lack of taste and flavour as being the cause of most consumer complaints levelled at commercially grown tomatoes. Eaters of tomatoes preferred them red, firm, meaty and of a medium to small size.  This research was published in the Journal of Food Science.
 
Research from Mark Bradford et al recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, reveals the critical importance of earthworms, beetles, and other small creatures to soil structure and fertility.  
 
Order vs. Wilderness is an age old debate with the likes of Joel Salatin from Polyface Farms in the US weighing in on the discussion.  The evidence is piling up to show how growing a diversity of plants within a space contributes to greater production of bio-mass.  Weeds are good and an indicator of what’s happening in your soil.  After all, those weeds do add organic matter to the soil with all the commensurate benefits.
 
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