[permaculture] Questioning World changing technology enables crops to take nitrogen from the air - The University of Nottingham

Lawrence London lfljvenaura at gmail.com
Wed Jul 31 19:31:42 EDT 2013


On Mon, Jul 29, 2013 at 5:04 PM, Michael Pilarski <
friendsofthetrees at yahoo.com> wrote:

>
> A few words on this nitrogen fixing bacteria mentioned as being recently
> developed by University of Nottinghan, UK with worldwide sales
> potential.
>
>
> We already know that most crop plants utilize symbiotic relationships with
> N-fixing bacteria as well as mycorrhizal fungi. If you have a healthy,
> biologically-active soil this happens naturally with locally occurring
> organisms.
>
> U.N. bacteria are no excuse, nor no remedy, for poor soil practices. The
> danger is to have an imperialistic march of UN bacteria worldwide. Local
> organisms should be cultured (if at all) for local use.
>
>
> The Japanese development of EM (Effective Micro-organisms) is widely
> tested around the world and its use has been adapted to culturing of local
> organism strains/mixes.  The UN scientists are probably behind, not ahead,
> of this research.
>
>
> Michael "Skeeter" Pilarski
> Permaculture - Wildcrafting - Medicinal Herbs & Seeds
>
>
>

Feedback from the sanet forum:

Edna Weigel eweigel at cableone.net via lists.ifas.ufl.edu
Jul 29 (2 days ago)


to SANET-MG
   Years ago, someone on SANET refered me to a text book on nitrogen
fixation and I obtained it through inter-library loan.  I found it
difficult reading because my background in biochemistry is limited, but by
the time I returned the book, I was firmly convinced that the commonly
accepted "knowledge" (that legumes and their symbiotic bacteria are
required to fix nitrogen) was very much over-simplified.  Therefore, I
conclude that this breakthrough is not the discovery of nitrogen-fixing
bacteria on sugar cane but the development of a method (involving sugars)
that enables those bacteria to efficiently inhabit many other crop plants.
>From the video, I'm guessing the seeds are put in a sugar solution
containing the appropriate bacteria and agitated with ultra sound then the
solution is removed and seeds planted.  Am I on the right track here?
   I can visualize the purchase of a sugar-based inoculant similar to that
now available for legumes (I've read at least one historical ag book that
talked about having to obtain soil in which a given legume has successfully
grown because the bacteria couldn't [then] be isolated on a commercial
scale).  I also can visualize problems in developing a shelf-stable product
and, if ultrasonic agitation is required, it might be difficult to scale up
the process for farm crops and expensive to do on a garden scale. (I, for
one, don't include an ultrasound generator among my garden equipment.)
Another concern about large-scale use of this technology might be nitrate
contamination of groundwater if all major crops produce excess fixed
nitrogen.
   Still, this technology seems more promising than the current method of
applying nitrogen fixed by the consumption of vast quantities of petro
chemical energy.
<snip>
>
>
http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/news/pressreleases/2013/july/world-changing-technology-enables-crops-to-take-nitrogen-from-the-air-.aspx

<snip>
   On a related note, does anyone know how long the legume-symbiotic
bacteria stays alive in the soil (and how drought might affect its
survival)?  The people who sell the inoculant want you to treat every seed
with every planting, but it doesn't make sense that it needs to be
replenished year-after-year.  After all, said bacteria evolved without the
hand of man purchasing new bacteria every year.

<>

NIFTAL: http://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/bnf/

Biological Nitrogen Fixation, at the University of Hawai'i 's College of
Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources

<>

West Hill Farm info at westhillfarm.org via lists.ifas.ufl.edu
Jul 29 (2 days ago)

to SANET-MG
yes, they used a sucrose solution, probably ultrasound and hairspray (?) as
the sticker.  I wonder whether the bacteria will be able to access the N in
gaseous form from the soil airspaces efficiently while living in the root
cell structures, compared to ones living in purpose grown (porous?) nodules
upon the roots.

I think you can get little domestic ultrasound units for cleaning jewellery?

But, as you say, better than Haber Bosch ammonia factories, consuming
natural gas to spread on fields..

There will still be some potential loss of N2O to the air, or nitrates into
ground water, from the soil at stages - it happens here when a dense clover
ley or field of legumes is ploughed, killing the roots. We must have a good
reservoir of the right bacteria!

But hopefully a step in a more biological, sustainable direction for
agriculture.

Susi Batstone

<>

From: ecoponderosa <3cedarsfarm at gmail.com>

>    On a related note, does anyone know how long the legume-symbiotic
bacteria stays alive in the soil (and how drought might affect its
survival)?  The people who sell the inoculant want you to treat every seed
with every planting, but it doesn't make sense that it needs to be
replenished year-after-year.  After all, said bacteria evolved without the
hand of man purchasing new bacteria every year.


Less than 10 years ago, in the Sanet archives, you will find one or more
posts from Dale Wilson discussing a friend of his who was doing a survey of
nitrogen fixing bacteria varieties and their associated hosts found in
soils in the region of the midwest where he was working. There was
discussion at the time about the variety of such bacteria and hosts they
adapt to, i.e. how many are there and which legumes prefer which bacteria.
If you find it please repost it to sanet. LL

>
> ________________________________
>  From: Lawrence London <lfljvenaura at gmail.com>
> To: permaculture <permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Sent: Monday, July 29, 2013 2:09 AM
> Subject: [permaculture] Fwd: World changing technology enables crops to
> take nitrogen from the air - The University of Nottingham
>
>
> Fwd: World changing technology enables crops to take nitrogen from the air
> - The University of Nottingham
>
> http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/news/pressreleases/2013/july/world-changing-technology-enables-crops-to-take-nitrogen-from-the-air-.aspx
>
> 25 Jul 2013 12:21:56.663
>
> PA 249/13
>
> A major new technology has been developed by The University of
> Nottingham<http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/>,
> which enables all of the world’s crops to take nitrogen from the air rather
> than expensive and environmentally damaging fertilisers.
> Nitrogen fixation, the process by which nitrogen is converted to ammonia,
> is vital for plants to survive and grow. However, only a very small number
> of plants, most notably legumes (such as peas, beans and lentils) have the
> ability to fix nitrogen from the atmosphere with the help of nitrogen
> fixing bacteria. The vast majority of plants have to obtain nitrogen from
> the soil, and for most crops currently being grown across the world, this
> also means a reliance on synthetic nitrogen fertiliser.
>
> Professor Edward Cocking, Director of The University of Nottingham’s
> Centre for Crop Nitrogen Fixation, has developed a unique method of putting
> nitrogen-fixing bacteria into the cells of plant roots. His major
> breakthrough came when he found a specific strain of nitrogen-fixing
> bacteria in sugar-cane which he discovered could intracellularly colonise
> all major crop plants. This ground-breaking development potentially
> provides every cell in the plant with the ability to fix atmospheric
> nitrogen. The implications for agriculture are enormous as this new
> technology can provide much of the plant’s nitrogen needs.
>


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