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The Liquid Carbon Pathway

Posts: 299
Location: Oklahoma
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The liquid carbon pathway (LCP) is a recently discovered carbon pump into the soil that functions quite efficiently for those wishing to add their part by carbon farming with permaculture.

Here is a very brief and simplified Technical Brief on how it works:

Technical Brief: The Liquid Carbon Pathway

Of course this particular paper uses biochar to get that initial jump start to the LCP functioning again on degraded ground. Properly done cell grazing has been shown to do it as well. While I haven't actually seen any paper supporting this, I highly suspect hugelkultur would too. Until the discovery of glomalin in 1996 by USDA researcher, Dr. Sara Wright, that pathway was unknown and the carbon found deep in soils was thought to have derived primarily from very slow accumulation of the litter layer, or what we permaculturists like to call "chop and drop". However, I suspect there are many of you out there that may be able to get even better results by adding this to your toolkit along with all the other tools permaculture uses.
Scott Strough
Posts: 299
Location: Oklahoma
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Supplemental reading on the Liquid carbon pathway as it applies to carbon farming:


Under appropriate conditions, a large proportion of the soluble carbon channelled into aggregates via the
hyphae of mycorrhizal fungi undergoes humification, a process in which simple sugars are resynthesised
into highly complex carbon polymers. Humus polymers are made up of carbon and nitrogen from the
atmosphere, combined with a range of minerals from the soil. These organo-mineral complexes form a
stable and inseparable part of the soil matrix that can remain intact for hundreds of years.
Humified carbon differs physically, chemically and biologically from the labile pool of organic carbon that
typically forms near the soil surface. Labile organic carbon arises principally from biomass inputs (such as
crop residues) which are readily decomposed. Conversely, most humified carbon derives from direct
exudation or transfer of soluble carbon from plant roots to mycorrhizal fungi and other symbiotic or
associative microflora. Humus can form relatively deep in the soil profile, provided plants are managed in
ways to encourage vigorous roots.
Once atmospheric carbon dioxide is sequestered as humus it has high resistance to microbial and
oxidative decomposition.

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