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The truth about Dynamic Accumulators: Science is needed!  RSS feed

 
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Also wanted to post these:



The screenshot below is from the video at the link above. I highly recommend viewing this entire conference.
Ingham-Minerals-in-Soil-Sparks2003.png
[Thumbnail for Ingham-Minerals-in-Soil-Sparks2003.png]
 
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Thanks Roberto for driving this thread. Great conversation.

A plant provides a significant amount of it's stored energy into feeding the biology (through the use of exudates) that will "mine" the nutrients from the soil. This "mining" comes at a cost to the overall stored energy of the plant. A plant will produce exudates (combination of sugars, proteins, and carbohydrates) that attract and let flourish the right type of bacteria and fungi that are well suited to "mine" the nutrient it is looking for. If for example a plant needed iron (FE) and there is not enough in soluble form, the plant would produce the exudates that will drive the right biology to convert the nutrient (through nutrient cycling) into soluble form.

My question is there a significant reduction of energy needed by the target plant (less exudates) due to the ease of accessibility of a nutrient through the decomposition of the DA? If there is a reduction in energy needed, I would assume this allows more energy for growth, fruiting, immune systems, etc. Is the benefit of a DA that is has done the mining (expended the energy) of certain nutrients from mineral sources and it's decomposition has made those nutrients soluble or exchangeable versus the nutrient only be mineral or exchangeable? By this logic all plants that are added back into the Soil Food Web (SFW) through the process of decomposition are DA's. The point would be to grow DA's that are well suited to seek out and store certain nutrients that you want easily available to your target plant.

But this leads me to another question. Is there a point at which your soil has enough organic material (OM) where you get a diminishing return on the value of a particular DA? Where the nutrient desired is in enough concentration of easily available forms versus just mineral.

 
gardener
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the question, as stated above in this post, as well as numerous times in this thread is how much time will be necessary before the minerals are available?

Mycorrhizal fungi in the soil will transform these nutrients into a form that plants can uptake.

What if the total soil test shows that you a deficiency in some nutrients? This is where mycorrhizal fungi come in. They form networks. Research has established that they network to at least 30 metres although “[t]he role of mycorrhizal networks in forest dynamics is poorly understood because of the elusiveness of their spatial structure. ” Research has determined that mycorrhizal fungi associated with one plant connect with mycorrhizal fungi on adjacent plants


Once a plant is connected to the mycorrhizal super highway, with its'ability to make nutrients available to plants and in a usable form, doesn't this answer the question of "how much time is necessary"?
 
gardener
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HI Noel:

My quibble is this: I think "Science welcome!" is more accurate than "Science is needed!"

I do always have a struggle when naming any thread I start (but that may just be my perfectionist/aspergers thing kicking into super anal edit mode), and I actually agree that this might be a better way to phrase it, since the truth is, it doesn't make much difference to me, personally and for my general garden purposes, if it's studied further or not. If I am to teach that this plant does this, or that plant does that, then I would like to have some more concrete idea that what I am saying is based on some science. However, if I ever get around to getting some kind of permaculture certification, I might want to teach about such things, and I'm not sure that I would not feel like Hemenway, Toensmeier, and Kourik, that we should hesitate to make these statements considering the lack of study without exploring the idea that science might indeed be needed. So I am of both parties. hmmm.

 
Roberto pokachinni
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Hi Karen

Roberto, you put alot into helping me. I apologize for getting you off course with my techno handicap.



I was so hyper focused on the big white box I was meticulously self editing myself through writing my original threads that I personally didn't see any of that stuff when I first started on this site, and in general have a lot of trouble dealing with site specific modes of interaction on the internet. It's like learning a new language in a way. Once I start to feel comfortable, I embrace the need to get over the hurdle, and I look up a bit and see some stuff and it all makes sense. In that regard, I thought I'd speed things along for you; I just wanted to be helpful for you. I also tried to answer some of your questions, so that my helping you was not the only thing I was posting about... which in the case of this particular post du jour I am guilty of.
 
Roberto pokachinni
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Hi Karen;

Once a plant is connected to the mycorrhizal super highway, with its'ability to make nutrients available to plants and in a usable form, doesn't this answer the question of "how much time is necessary"?

A good question. It would seem that the mycorrhizal super highway is what happens in a mature system, like a forest or wild meadow, when it has as much (or many times more) tonnage of mycelia as it does plant biomass, it would also seem that the process of beginning the super highway always starts on a side street or in a back yard path, or patio... so it begins as soon as a person starts a garden, puts a plant or seed in the ground, or is simply observing a tilled or fallow soil begins to develop/re-develop and be pioneered by a soil food web, but this latter scenario is just the beginning. Hugulkultur, the way I see it, propels a pioneered soil system through these initial stages of succession a lot quicker, but even then it takes several years to really get juicy with connections and nutrients. So, to further the analogy, even though a side street is connected to the super highway, it is when there are numerous side streets connecting to each other, and have been branched into from the alleys and backyard paths and patios, and these side streets are all connected via an easy jump onto the nearby accessible on-ramps to the super highway, then it really gets rockin'. This takes a more advanced horticultural situation, a food forest, et cetera to have those connections to be in a more complete mode. Like in Hemenway's description (in Gaia's Garden) of the stick farm (just planted food forest/orchard) that in a few years just suddenly explodes with life; I think that it's likely that it takes a while for these connections to be made. It's not that a plant will not be trying to make these connections, and will succeed to the point that the micro-local system is able, it is when more of these micro systems connect with one another that the super highway forms, and it is not until the super highway has advanced and expanded that it becomes fully functioning in a mature way. That's the way I see it anyway.
 
Roberto pokachinni
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Hi Brian;

Thanks Roberto for driving this thread. Great conversation.

It's been an interesting ride to be at the wheel of! It has been a great one to be a part of. And Welcome.

I think that you bring up some valuable and well articulated ideas.

This "mining" comes at a cost to the overall stored energy of the plant.

Certainly: Energy expended by a plant will take away from it's potential to store energy. That's part of the 2nd thermo law thang.

My question is there a significant reduction of energy needed by the target plant (less exudates) due to the ease of accessibility of a nutrient through the decomposition of the DA?

Whether it pans out that the 'role' of a DA happens (or not) to be the expenditure of energy so that other plants don't have this need, I think that it is stands to reason and that it is likely to be true that this would allow a reduction in the energy that a non-DA plant would be expending to access nutrients; how significant this reduction is, would probably depend greatly on how much of any given mineral is needed by the plant.

Minor Aside: There is also the possibility that the DA plant might not actually have to decompose in order for those nutrients to begin to be available, as the humus surrounding a certain DA (with those exudates and resulting biological communities and their resulting accumulations) might have enough of these trace minerals available in soluble form in within the soil community. This would, of course, require a very advanced Soil Food Web in the first place. Perhaps this possibility does not exist, since the purpose of the accumulator (and the reason for it's designation as such) is to suck up as much of this particular trace mineral as is available. Which seems to be the case with hyper-accumulation.

Is the benefit of a DA that is has done the mining (expended the energy) of certain nutrients from mineral sources and it's decomposition has made those nutrients soluble or exchangeable versus the nutrient only be mineral or exchangeable? By this logic all plants that are added back into the Soil Food Web (SFW) through the process of decomposition are DA's.

The first part of this question seems to be the basic idea that most people have believed about DA plants [that the decomposition of DA's provide soluble/exchangable nutrients to other plants]. As for the second part of this quote, I think that the best way to answer this is yes and no. Yes, the advancement of the soil food web through the decomposition of any plant will accumulate nutrients in the humus layer (probably predominantly in soluble forms) and thus be made available to succeeding plants. No, all plants are not dynamic accumulators in that some plants do indeed accumulate certain minerals/nutrients better than others, and in some cases this is in the extreme. Hyper accumulation is well documented, scientifically verified, and used to extract heavy metals from contaminated sites. A lettuce plant or an onion may accumulate a certain spectrum of nutrients which are unique to them as individuals, as species specific plants, and as the soil system (aggregate minerals and Soil Food Web) which they grew in could provide, but they are not DA's in the sense that I think we are discussing here.


 
Roberto pokachinni
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The Soil Food Web, itself, (as is described in the link of the original post) is a dynamic accumulator on it's own.
 
Roberto pokachinni
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Noel, Thanks for posting this conference. I will endeavor to sit through it's length at some point soon-ish.

I like the quotes at the bottom of your threads.
 
Karen Donnachaidh
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I also tried to answer some of your questions, so that my helping you was not the only thing I was posting about


Great job multitasking. Helping other Permies is what it's about. I've learned a lot about techno stuffs and DA stuff. Thanks! Chime in soon re. DA stuff. Brain in work mode.
 
Brian Vagg
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Hi Roberto,


No, all plants are not dynamic accumulators in that some plants do indeed accumulate certain minerals/nutrients better than others, and in some cases this is in the extreme. Hyper accumulation is well documented, scientifically verified, and used to extract heavy metals from contaminated sites. A lettuce plant or an onion may accumulate a certain spectrum of nutrients which are unique to them as individuals, as species specific plants, and as the soil system (aggregate minerals and Soil Food Web) which they grew in could provide, but they are not DA's in the sense that I think we are discussing here.



I think hyper-accumulation (predominantly heavy metals and not necessarily essential nutrients) is more than likely a function of plant defense (preventing pests and herbivores) and accumulation of essential nutrients in higher than average quantities is a cellular / metabolic function of that specific plant. I suspect that if you took a plant tissue analysis of lettuce and comfrey they would both have the same essential nutrients (needed for plant function), but the quantities could be vastly different. I think most uses of a dynamic accumulator would be to make essential nutrients more easily available. The context that I have seen most DA benefits described have been with regards to essential nutrients.

Thanks for the opportunity to explore this train of thought. It has helped me push my thinking of nutrient cycling forward. I am in the middle of taking Dr. Ingham's Life in the Soil class and this discussion has been quite beneficial.


 
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As the first real autumn rains fall, I am reminded how important anadromous (migrating from fresh-salt-fresh water) fish are to the nutrient cycle. Until 100-200yrs ago, when excess nutrients have been washed downstream, they have been absorbed by the aquatic and marine ecosystems downstream and ultimately returned as salmonids in the largest upward movement of nutrients the terrestrial world has ever had. Now, must we be the salmon?
 
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How beautifully things work(ed)in balance.  Thanks Ben
 
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Hi Folks

I'm not sure when this was all written but there has been a request for some qualification of dynamic accumulators. Here is my attempt to help clarify the situation.

https://permaculturenews.org/2015/05/12/qualifying-dynamic-accumulators-a-sub-group-of-the-hyperaccumulators/

There is certainly a case to be stated for the existence of dynamic accumulators, but quantification is yet to be done.

 
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