Chimel posted a link to an interesting program in his comments Wednesday. Now Chimel, can you translate his beautiful French language for us? It's a good thing his speech is posted in English at the bottom of his slides!
"Biologist Mohamed Hijri brings to light a farming crisis no one is talking about: We are running out of phosphorus, an essential element that's a key component of DNA and the basis of cellular communication. All roads of this crisis lead back to how we farm -- with chemical fertilizers chock-full of the element, which plants are not efficient at absorbing. One solution? Perhaps … a microscopic mushroom. (Filmed at TEDxUdeM.)
Mohamed Hijri studies arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), seeking to understand the structure, evolution and reproduction of these organisms, which form a symbiotic relationship with plant roots.
Why you should listen to him:
Mohamed Hijri is a professor of biology and a researcher at the plant biology research institute (l'Institut de recherche en biologie végétale) at the Université de Montréal. His work focuses on the most common and widespread symbiotic relationship on earth -- between plant roots and a type of fungi found in the soil called arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF). These fungi improve plant growth by increasing roots' ability to absorb phosphorus, while also boosting resistance to pathogens.
As Hijri points out in his talk, the study of AMF and a deeper understanding of them could have big implications for agriculture and could help divert us from an impending crisis -- that we are quickly running out of phosphorus.
Many would say but yes we have piles of manure and biosolids that could be spread. I would tell you way too much FGD gypsum has been land filled due to ignorance. A few of my friends would tell you those piles of manure are loaded with glyphosate and could potentially do as much harm as good. The few manure tests I've seen for glyphosate would be equivalent to spraying a gallon of RoundUp per acre. Would you do that?
Weeds are indicators of soil health. Why are weeds bad? Dandelions are pretty well gone here in fields but still a pest in lawns and gardens. Even dandelion are an indicator of soil health. Radish and other cover crops do a good job unlocking phosphorous and other nutrients from soil.
Google lists many links on the coming phosphorous crisis. You can read and make your own conclusion but as Chimel points out, this scientist thinks it is real and goes about proving it in the first link of this blog.