Since water is the blood of life (all life) it occurred to me that I should talk about our life blood and how it relates to my previous threads.
So I'm putting together my first post for this thread over this weekend and will have it up at some point on Monday (at least that is my current plan).
When rain falls there become ionized droplets both + and - charged water molecules can be found, these ions hit the earth and if they strike bare soil, they have a jackhammer effect upon the naked soil particles they strike.
A magnified rain drop hitting the earth does not look unlike a meteor striking the earth, a crater is formed and grains of soil create a circle around the strike site.
In slow motion and high magnification it is amazing to see how much soil is disrupted on such a small scale, it brings home the need for always keeping something growing to cover the soil and protect it from such devastation.
The second wonder is that as these rain drops smash into the bare soil, some of the charged molecules of water attach to single elements in the soil.
As the drop of water sinks into the earth, more water molecules attach to more single elements and these elements are taken deeper into the soil as the water sinks in.
While the water drop is making the journey down into the soil, bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms take on some of the molecules, if they need the mineral that is attached, they strip it off before they break the water molecule into the oxygen and hydrogen atoms that make up water.
This produces a lot of energy since anytime you break a bond, you use some energy and then get it back as the bond severs, sometimes the atoms float away but most will be used to make up new molecules that the organism needs for its own health.
When there is enough water running down into the soil, microorganisms will end up sucked deeper down, as they use the water they need for life.
One of the more curious properties of water is that it has the propensity to form a vortex as it follows the gravitational pull of earth, though this is normal, unless you see a whirl pool form in a river or other larger body of water, or look down a pipe with a "snake camera", you rarely see this property.
Many "mystical" attributes have, over the years, been given to the formation of a water vortex.
Most of these can be debunked through measurements and the experimental process, but the very fact that water will created a vortex just about anytime it is given the chance is curious.
Leaving out the mysticism, a vortex is a response to gravity by a moving fluid (water and air are the usual things we see incorporate this).
In a container it is easy to get a vortex going by simply stirring a liquid rapidly, blenders are one of the tools we can use to create a vortex in fluids, stir plates are commonly used for this in laboratories.
Solids will be suspended faster and for a longer period of time when the liquid they are dissolved in forms a vortex.
Be aware though that even though this suspension will happen, once the vortex is gone, gravity takes over and the solids will settle out just as if you had not created the vortex.
When water creates a vortex we can get electrical charge measurements that are higher than just straight line flowing water.
What this means is still being guessed at and investigated but one thing it does do is make water able to hold onto more elements, taking them along for a ride.
So if we could find a vortex going down into our soil, it would also be taking minerals, bacteria, hyphae and other microorganisms along also.
One of the surprising places you might find a vortex is in the open channel along major roots of trees, which might mean that nutrients would be able to be sucked down deeper into the soil, to be deposited along the root pathway.
If this is true, then it might be something we can take advantage of to get nutrients we need to the roots that are capable of moving those nutrients into and up the tree to the leaves.
more to come as I have time.
Bryant RedHawk wrote:
When water creates a vortex we can get electrical charge measurements that are higher than just straight line flowing water.
What this means is still being guessed at and investigated ....
Admittedly a bit off topic, but you have the word "plant" in the thread title so here goes. Not really steeped in any engineering, I'm going to guess that photosynthesis was a phenomenon and model examined alongside of the development of solar cells and solar power....probably even the inspiration..?? Wind turbines have been around in one form or another for centuries and the whirling nature probably modeled on other natural phenomena observed by the engineer of that day. Living in high wind region, it's always striking how much waving and motion a tree (and prairie grasses?) exhibits in these winds. Yet while the wind turbine concept recently is being melded, in a micro-way, to the design of 'artificial trees' that would generate low amounts of power for a dwelling or other need, I've yet to see an analysis of the use of the oscillation motion of a tree in the possible generation of ATP ('plant power') within that tree; the bulk (?) of ATP generation being attributed to photosynthesis and ancillary reactions (if memory serves me). Is there anything in your studies or learning that might suggest trees (or, in ocean environments, kelp/seaweed) utilize wind energy in this manner to generate energy for metabolism? Although the energy production ramifications of this might be significant, I'm more interested in how it relates to our understading of plant growth and health, in addition to the soil and microbiome below that plant.
The closest I could come to something akin to this idea is an engineeered one: https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/pgkpkn/piezoelectricity-wind-energy-trees-vibration-resonance
As far as I know,
The main use of wind (in trees) is the formation of lignin in the cellular structure as far as I know, wind power doesn't have any relationship with the plant producing energy from the swaying, only a stronger, more flexible structure.
I know wave motion is being used in Holland for energy generation and they still use the old windmills both to grind grains and now for power generation as well.
In plants the chloroplasts react with the sun's radiation (ultraviolet and infrared) to provide energy to the mitochondria which make the ATP that the rest of the plant makes use of as the energy source.
The kelps use the wave motion to both strengthen their stalks and to help position the leaves (iodine kelp particularly) for photosynthesis using UV mostly (that is partly why Iodine kelp seems to be reddish in color).
Plants that grow up in windy areas tend to be "leaners" that is the constant bending produces not only stronger but also longer cells on the windward side of the plant thus they lean away from the prevailing wind direction.
This behavior is fairly well simulated by the plant moving with the sun, where the stem cells grow at the same rate as the sun travels across the sky, this keeps the plant facing the most energy for better gathering of the sun's energy.
I think there are some engineers working on a wind whip design. It looks like a very long paddle standing upright and it is on a pivot with powerful springs to keep it from being knocked down from the wind, as it moves back and forth the energy stored is released and turns a generator.
Plants have some problems caused by their lack of mobility, most animals can move and seek out water, plants have to depend on their root system and the fungal network to draw water up from the soil they live in.
Water gathering is one of the things where the fungal network relationship with plants really comes to light.
Fungi are sponges, if you pluck any fungal fruit (the mushroom) and simply squeeze it, water will come out, showing just how much water is held by a mushroom.
The hyphae, being the real growth portion of the fungi, are very good at pulling water from the surrounding soil and moving it along the threads that make up the fungi organism.
When the hyphae have a part of their bodies wrapped around the roots of a plant, those roots can signal the hyphae, through a sugary exudate, to give some water to the roots, it is a very symbiotic relationship, and this is true of most of the microbiological world.
We already covered a bit about how water, the universal solvent, carries minerals along the path of least resistance (which is how water moves), ready to deposit those minerals where ever the water slows down its rate of speed or a chemical bonding reaction grabs on to the mineral being carried by the water.
Fungi are one of the key players in the movement of water that plants use, the hyphae that are mycorrhizal fungi, especially the endo species, will release water molecules directly inside the plant root, since the endo species live inside the cell walls of the hair like feeder roots, they ensure that what ever water the fungal network can provide, is delivered to just the right place.
Bacteria take advantage of this too, and because the whole microscopic world that is the soil food network is a multitude of symbiotic relationships, everyone of its members receives and gives benefits to all the other members.
This is one of the reasons that great soil can keep plants from succumbing to what other, not so great soil can not when the rains stop for any sort of extended period of time.
It is also why fungi keep astonishing those who study them, as one of the simplest of life forms, it has the ability to be extremely complex in its interactions with the other organisms in its world.
Plants can, through the use of their exudate system, make adjustments to their roots surroundings.
If the pH of the soil is either too basic or too acidic, the roots will send out the sugars to promote the fungi and bacteria to make the proper adjustment in pH, which can be as much as 0.40 pH change (up or down) in a 24 hour period and this change can be held in place for as long as the plant remains alive.
This means that if something like a blue berry bush is planted in soil that is not quite acidic enough (blueberries like their pH to be rather acidic like 5.5) the plant can send out a call for more acidic conditions and the bacteria and fungi will work together to create the change.
Problems arise when one of these components is either missing or not well established at the time the transplanted bush needs the help. This is one of the reasons for making some additions to the back fill soil when transplanting a tree or bush of any fruit species.
Mycorrhizae are finally become better known for all the things they can do for our soil and thus for our plants.
These are the "go between" from plant to fungal network communications, if you need mycorrhizae and they aren't present, then you have a faulty cell tower or worse yet, a cut land line effect, the call is placed but no phone rings.
All of the "higher" microorganisms use the fungal network as their super highway system, allowing them to move all over the place and answer any exudate stimulus that is sent out.
and I'll be back with more.
The other totally amazing thing I think about water is that the solid form floats . I cannot thing of another simple compound or element that has the same property . Without it we could never have evolved . The earth would be a snow ball .
Water is the only molecule that does this. In an electric storm event, water can be found in many different forms all within the same cloud (which is formed by water floating in air).
Rain is water that has bonded to other water until there are enough molecules holding together that they become heavy enough for gravity to pull them out of the vaporized (cloud) form.
Lightening is simply a static electric charge that has built up to the discharge point and usually what we see as coming down is actually going up. The electrical discharge creates ozone by adding electrons to the nitrogen that is part of the air.
The electrical discharge also can cause water to line up molecules like a crystal and then throw them apart so we never actually get to see this crystal form.
Snow is a different animal, it is water molecules solidifying in air and they grow just like sugar forms rock candy.
In the soil water takes on many different, fleeting forms just as it can do when it forms a vortex. For the above storm that vortex is what we call a tornado or cyclone.
In the vortex, water can take on extra atoms of oxygen or hydrogen then they break apart from the water molecule as fast as they hooked on to it.
The result is a chain of free electrons that comes and goes so fast we almost can't measure it.
There have been many attempts to conceptualize these action/ reaction events but they usually end up sounding like science fiction so I am not going to attempt it.
These action/ reaction events happen, we can measure them and they do effect many microorganisms in measureable ways but to talk about 1 trillionth of a second events is usually hard for people to get their mind to grasp.
They are the reason that creating a compost tea in a vortex mixer works the way it does. It isn't magic, it just kind of seems like it is.
Now we have people marketing "vortex" water for drinking, problem is by the time that water has left the vortex to go into the bottle, it has lost any "properties" the vortex induced.
In fact, if you could drink straight from that vortex, by the time the water molecules are passing your lips, they have lost any "properties" the vortex induced.
This is the sort of thing that is more detrimental to people's understanding of the ways of water than anything else, people want to try and make it magical, which in a sense it is, just not in the ways they try to market it so you will buy their magical water.
Soil is ground up rocks, as we learned way back at the beginning of these threads.
That means that soil is little, minute particles of rock, most so small that it would take thousands of them to make up a pebble the size of a marble.
If the particles are larger than that we have sand if they are smaller then we have silt or clay, clay being the tiniest of soil particles.
Clay particles are so small they act similarly to a water molecule, they stick to each other and can exhibit surface tension like water does.
Water reacts differently to each size of soil particle, this is regulated by the particle size.
Sand has lots of space between grains so water can slip right through, going deeper and deeper until it meets a barrier of some sort, which can be the water table.
We will come back to the water table later, because it is interesting on it's own accord.
In the first thread, we talked about horizons, those layers of soil where a sudden difference occurs, horizons act like boundaries to water molecules.
If horizon A is sand, the water rushes through until it finds horizon B, which if it happens to be smaller particles, slow the passage of the water down.
If the particles below horizon B are smaller still, then the water slows down even more, if they are larger, the water moves through quicker.
If the particles at say, horizon D are clay, then the water stops its downward movement when it hits that horizon and it either moves off sideways or it forms a pool or water table.
When the water slows down, that affinity for like molecules has the chance to force the water to link around the soil particle for at least a little while.
You can grasp this idea if you think about the sand on a beach, the wave runs up over the sand then retreats to the ocean, some of that wave water sinks into the sand.
If we take a shovel and lift a scoop of sand right after the wave retreats, we can observe the water rushing through the particles of sand, and then we can see air bubbles popping as that water runs off the shovel.
If we used a ladle type shovel, we would see the same things but the water would only run out of the sand protruding above the ladles sides, and those particles dry out.
Below that level, the water would be trapped, and those trapped sand particles would be surrounded by the water that was trapped.
Those particles that remain wet are "saturated", when soil remains saturated for long periods of time, no air can be drawn into those spaces occupied by the water molecules and that means that space is anaerobic, at least for the time period the water doesn't drain away.
This is what creates swamps, which usually have a clay soil base and sit below the surrounding land forms.
What we want to do is create a soil that only slows the water, not stop it completely.
If we have a clay base layer, we need to get enough organic material into that clay to allow the clay particles to surround the organic material and thus create some space between the particles of clay.
When we succeed at doing this, the clay will allow the water to slowly drain through down to the next layer (horizon).
The deeper we can have the water drain, the better for our plants roots since they will be able to get air once the water passes by.
The mechanism that brings the air down as the water goes away is called capillary action, it can also draw water up, that is how water functions in soil, it first moves down (gravity works), then after it goes down it can crawl back up through the tiny spaces between the soil particles.
These actions will occur for as long as there is water at the correct level, it has to be in contact with those small particles that have the right sized spaces between them.
If the spaces are too large, the water can not crawl back up, if the spaces are too small, the water remains stuck to itself and once again it can't crawl back up.
Soil that is just right for these actions is referred to as "friable".
This is how horizons work with water, those that can trap the water, allow the material above to evacuate the water but those particles that remain surrounded by the water are wet while those above dry out.
to be continued
Bryant RedHawk wrote:...people want to try and make it magical, which in a sense it is, just not in the ways they try to market it so you will buy their magical water.
Another amazing thing about plants and water: "An acre of corn gives off about 3,000-4,000 gallons (11,400-15,100 liters) of water each day, and a large oak tree can transpire 40,000 gallons (151,000 liters) per year." -- https://water.usgs.gov/edu/watercycletranspiration.html
At 151,000 liters per year and assuming a transpiratory (leafed-out) number of days of ~300 per year averaged over many climates, that would be ~500 liters per day. Assuming that is correct, it is the 'structure' of water combining with the evolved vascular conduits of the tree to, in a way, 'pump' that water from the ground up through the tree and out the stomates of the leaves. Pretty amazing, really......