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  • Writer's pictureRiteways Data

How TALLBOY® composting machines can help Mycorrizae permanently retain soluble carbon in the soil.

Humification is the natural process and has the ability to quickly stabilise soluble carbon, and retain it permanently in the soil. The question is how do we fix the system that can allow this to happen?

This process can lock away (or "sequester") between 5 to 20 tonnes of CO2 per hectare per year. A hectare is a unit of area equal to 10,000 square meters, roughly the size of a sports field. 20 tonnes of Carbon in the soil is almost equivalent to removing 100 tonnes of CO2 from air.

Locking the carbon in the soil

The really cool part is how this soluble carbon can get "locked in" through a process called humification. Humification is the transformation of organic matter into a stable form known as humus, which is a vital component of healthy soil. This process helps to store carbon in the soil long-term, rather than letting it escape back into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, which would contribute to climate change.

What is Humus and how TALLBOY® Composting Machines can help build humus?

Humus is the organic component of soil. It's formed when plant and animal matter breaks down over time. 40% to 60% of the "fixed" carbon doesn't stay in the plant. Instead, it goes into the soil through fallen leaves, roots, and other plant parts that decompose. When these plant parts break down, they turn into what's known as "humus," a rich, dark soil full of organic matter. This process is called "humification." Humus plays a crucial role in keeping soil healthy and fertile. It helps in water retention, nutrient supply, and even in sequestering carbon.

Traditional composting can take several weeks to a few months to complete, with TALLBOY® design 30% can be harvested everyday. TALLBOY® is a specialized system that focuses on optimizing the composting process using fine grinding, high aeration through natural draft, moisture control, and efficient drainage. These are crucial factors that influence how fast organic matter decomposes. These composting systems convert the organic matter into a nutrient-rich soil conditioner.

Humification is the process of forming stable organic matter (humus) from the decomposing material. This compost can easily humify through Micorrhizal processes. Mycorrhizal fungi are a type of fungi that form partnerships with plants. The fungi get sugars from the plants, and in return, they help the plants absorb water and nutrients from the soil. The fungus allows soluble carbon streaming into the soil, we're basically saying that carbon in a form that can dissolve in water is moving into the soil. This often comes from the plant roots and is facilitated by the mycorrhizal fungi.

Nature has its own "Liquid Carbon" currency and "Carbon Highways", we could learn a great deal from it. t's estimated that around 90% of land plants are in some sort of mycorrhizal relationship. The "Mycorrhizal Carbon Highway" not only nourishes the plants but also supports a diverse microbial community in the soil. Photosynthesis is the Starting Point

Photosynthesis is like the basic income of the plant world; it's where everything starts. When plants photosynthesize, they use sunlight to convert carbon dioxide and water into glucose and oxygen. This glucose is crucial because it provides energy for the plant itself and serves as the primary building block for its growth.

Plants absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere for photosynthesis. While some of this carbon gets turned into plant material, a good chunk of it gets transferred to the soil through root exudation. This is basically the plant "leaking" sugars, proteins, and other carbon-rich substances from its roots. These substances serve as food for microbes in the soil, like mycorrhizal fungi.

Once in the soil, this carbon often forms complex molecules with soil minerals—creating humus. Humus has a stable structure that makes it resistant to decomposition, meaning it can store carbon for many years, keeping it out of the atmosphere. The term "mycorrhiza" basically means "fungus-root, Arbuscular Mycorrhizae (AM) or Vesicular Arbuscular Mycorrhizae (VAM) are the most common types of mycorrhizal fungi, especially in agricultural contexts. They belong to the phylum Glomeromycota. These fungi are essential for many reasons:

Nutrient Uptake

The fungi extend the plant's root system via its mycelium, which is like a network of tiny threads. This extended 'reach' allows the plant to access nutrients like phosphorus, zinc, and nitrogen from a larger volume of soil. These nutrients are crucial for the plant's growth and health.

Drought Resistance

Arbuscular mycorrhizae can help plants survive in stressful conditions, like during droughts. They help the plants make better use of available water by improving the plant's water uptake capabilities.

Soil Health

They also contribute to soil structure. The mycelium of the fungi can bind soil particles together, creating a better soil structure. This can result in improved water retention and aeration in the soil.

Pest and Disease Resistance

Some research indicates that mycorrhizal plants may be more resistant to diseases and pests compared to non-mycorrhizal plants.

Farming Applications

Farmers are becoming more interested in using these fungi because they can reduce the need for chemical fertilizers. Some farmers even 'inoculate' their fields with mycorrhizal fungi to take advantage of these benefits.

The synthetic Phosphatic and Nitrogenous Fertilizers give a quick boost of specific nutrients to plants but can lead to soil acidification over time. Acidic conditions aren't favorable for many soil microbes that assist in humification. Herbicides, Fungicides, Pesticides are designed to kill or inhibit unwanted plants, fungi, or pests, but they can also harm beneficial soil microbes. The loss of microbial diversity disrupts the process of humification.

To put it simply, these processes form the backbone of soil health, which in turn affects everything from agriculture to forest ecosystems. This is super important for climate change because, as you know, high levels of CO2 in the atmosphere contribute to global warming. By storing carbon in a stable form in the soil, humus acts as a carbon "sink," helping to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Studies show that plants release up to 30% of the carbon they fix through photosynthesis back into the soil. Understanding these mechanisms can provide powerful insights into sustainable land management strategies, including dense forestry and profitable Agriculture.

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