What is the ROI Microbiotics Laboratory (RML) purpose and function?

  • the RML is a Microbiological Soil-Compost Laboratory (MS-CL)
  • purpose is to establish best practices to 'condition' soil and dirt for the purpose of growing plants to feed, clothe and provide useful products for humanity.
  • plants will not be productive when grown in a sterile environment, but require the interactions of a balanced synergistic microbial community to prosper (maximize their full potential)
  • defining that balance' and synergism''' is the function of a MS-CL

How 'deep' should a Microbiological Soil-Compost Laboratory (MS-CL) delve, to identify specific generea of microbes to ensure that the fully-balanced soil/dirt microbiological community exists?

That question is somewhat open to interpretation, so first, let's deal with what a MS-CL is NOT, and what it does NOT do.

  • It is not a clinical (medical) lab
    • a MS-CL does not use molecular (DNA based - such as 16s RNA seqencing, gyrB, recN) or proteomic methods (such as MALDI, LC-MS/MS etc.) or comprehensive biochemical techniques.
  • It is not a food microbiology lab
    • a MS-CL does not conduct extensive plate culturing, gene sequencing or phenotypic-based methods
  • It is not a water quality lab
    • a MS-CL does not conduct routine tests of potable water to identify conditions relative to human health. Irrigation water is non-potable
  • It is not a 'soil science' lab
    • so does not conduct nutrient (available and total) capacity testing of a plant-growth medium by drying it out (thereby destroying the microbial population that sequesters a high portion of the available nutrients)
    • pulverizing it and subjecting the sample to harsh chemicals that are not representive of of the nutrient processes in soil/dirt conditions.

However, there IS some redundancy of analysis activities compared to food/water/soil labs such as:

  • percent organics in a soil/dirt sample
  • pH, conductivity (salts) and cation exchange capacity (CEC) as interrelated issues
  • analysis for pathogenic organisms that can affect human health

So what is the major focus of a MS-CL laboratory?

  • nutrient cycling to provide natural nutrition for:
    • healthy proportionate (root/stalk/leaf) plant growth (i.e., height & breadth)
    • maximizing quantity of harvest yields within the full range of food/fiber/forage crops
    • increasing nutritional value of harvest yields for human and livestock consumption
  • natural (non-chemical) disease controls
  • natural (non-chemical) pest controls
  • soil amendments that maximize the microbiological community to ameliorate:
    • compaction
    • erosion
    • chemical pollution
    • reestablishing/replenishing the full synergistic microbiological community damaged or unbalanced by overuse of synthetic agricultural and horticultural chemicals

Basically, a MS-CL takes the macro view of a soil/water lab - to the microscopic level. As one example: a soil lab assays for percent of organic content in a given sample, but provides no further information. Why is that a problem?

  • % organic content does not provide any information useful to adjust soil composition
    • should more organics be added?
    • To what percent, based on the mineral soil/dirt components?
    • if so, what kind of organics?
    • what is the percent of organic material, versus organic matter, versus humic content?
  • On the other hand, MS-CL assays for:
  • extent of the three stages of decomposition of the organic component
    • organic material
    • organic matter
    • organic humus
  • population characteristics (diversity and density) of the microbiological community
  • microbial characteristics that relate to plant health
  • water absorption/percolation characteristics that relate to plant health and productivity
  • nutrient-holding capacity that relates to plant health and productivity

Why is that important to a farmer, rancher or plant nursery?

  • increasing organic nutrient cycling can initially reduce the farmers' need for expensive chemical fertilizer inputs.
  • developing a sustainable level of nutrient cycling can permanently eliminate the farmers' future need for expensive chemical fertilizer input.

Prior to the 1950's the entire food production of the world was grown organically by sustainable methods. Following the advent and promotion of chemical fertilizers manufactured from byproducts of processed oil, small farm sustainable organic food/fiber/forage crop production diminished to the extent that after only two generations, few persons remember how grandma and grandpa raised food at home for their family.

How can increasing the percent of organic matter and microbe community accomplish that?

  • decompostion of the organic component by soil microbiology is what provides nutrient cycling for all plants
    • the extent (diversity/density) of the microbiological community determines how fast such decomposition takes place
  • the synergy of a balanced soil/dirt microbiological community is what determines the carbon 'footprint' of croplands
    • bacteria-to-fungal ratio (B:F) can be adjusted to match the type of crop being grown

That one example demonstrates the microbiological perspective that delves deeper into the reasons for the how and why of sustainable organic plant production.

The ROI Microbiotics Laboratory performs work to develop methods and means to develop products and services to enhance plant benefits whether for:

  • foliage for shade
  • flowers for aesthetics
  • turf and other grasses for water infusion
  • roots for erosion control
  • food for human and livestock consumption
  • and a host of other benefits
Click Here to see: Compost Containments
Click Here to see:COMPOST PILES