No-dig and Longevity
❓ Did you know that digging or tilling your soil can shorten your life? Quite literally, it seems - especially if you aim to feed yourself with the produce of your own garden!
🥕 Ergothioneine (ERGO) is an amino acid produced by some species of soil fungi and bacteria and it has been referred to as the "longevity vitamin" due to its potent antioxidant properties.
⚕ Research suggests that low levels of ergothioneine in the diet can result higher probability of experiencing Parkinson's and Alzheimer's Disease, as well as reduced life expectancy,
🦠 A recent study at Penn University showed that soil disturbance can disrupt fungi populations so much that the availability of this important amino acid becomes completely compromised.
🚜 The research team led by Robert B. Beelman compared moldboard plowing/disking/harrowing (MB), which represents the most intense tillage, with chisel plowing/disking/harrowing (CD), which represents a medium amount of tillage; and no-till (NT) - each replicated four times. The crops grown in the study include maize, soybeans and oats. The team examined the nutritional content of grain samples from each of the crops by using chromatography and mass spectroscopy.
❗ The results are not surprising: tillage reduced the content of ERGO by 32% for maize, 33% for soybeans and 28% for oats. And if that wasn’t enough, tillage also reduced crop yields.
📰 The full text of the peer-reviewed article is available here: https://www.mdpi.com/2073-4395/11/11/2278