In October, a Ph.D. student at the University of Florida asked
for some guidence on reponding to his instructors dogmatic
support of synthetic nitrogen (reader
the letter). We responded with information from The Rodale
Institute's Farming Systems Trial as well as a link to the
organic research department at the U of Florida. Another reader
has a research lead for Brad...
DEAR NEW FARM:
I would like to bring to your attention to a recent research
article that highlights the problems with synthetic fertilizers
and the importance of cover crops in soil fertility, in response
to Brad's letter in your last newsletter:
"I am a Ph.D. student at
the University of Florida and am taking a class on world
agriculture. The instructor is very dogmatic about the use
of synthetic nitrogen. I would appreciate any information
you might have as well as other sources you can lead me
to that I can use in this class to provide the other side
of the argument."
The following article shows a possible mechanism on a molecular
basis (at the gene expression level) with which organically
derived soil fertility can enhance plant defenses and health,
whereas synthetic fertilizers have the opposite effect: An
alternative agriculture system is defined by a distinct expression
profile of select gene transcripts and proteins, Kumar
et. al. PNAS, July 20, 2004, vol. 101, no. 29, 10535-10540.
I hope that this article will help that UF instructor reconsider
his current synthetic N "dogma."
Technological Education Institute of Thessaloniki, Greece
Dept. of Plant Production
us with comments, suggestions and questions.