By Dr. Mercola
One of the most important strategies for improving your health is to grow your own food. However, that may not be so easy if you’re unaware of the importance of soil microbes.
Wendy Taheri is a research microbiologist, to whom I was introduced via Gabe Brown, a farmer in North Dakota, who is a strong proponent of regenerative land management.
Taheri was formerly employed at the United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS), and she recently founded a new company, TerraNimbus, to help farmers enhance their yields, reduce inputs, and improve nutrient use efficiency (NUE).
“I got my PhD in ecology and evolutionary biology at Indiana University,” Taheri says. ”I was doing restoration work at old coal mines to make the soil grow plants again. We were focusing on using microbes for restoration.
During an experiment, I saw that the microbes I used were able to increase plant biomass by 69 percent. I said to myself, ‘Wow, we’ve got to get this to the farmers.’ After I graduated, I took a job with the USDA to try and do that.”
In this interview, she discusses the importance of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF). According to renowned mycologist Paul Stamets, 70 percent of the soil microbes are fungi, so they’re a really critical consideration when you’re trying to improve soil health.
What Are Mycorrhizal Fungi?
While few people have actually seen mycorrhizal fungi, as you need a microscope to see them, they are a very important foundation for healthy soils. Their spores are in the soil and their hyphae (long, branching filamentous structures) are not only in the soil; they also integrate with the plant via its roots.
The filaments penetrate the roots of the plant and get inside the cells where they grow an organ called an arbuscule. There
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