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Phytobiomes Journal

“Scientists compare soil microbes in no-till, conventional tilling systems of Pacific Northwest farms”

Link to the journal : Phytobiome
http://apsjournals.apsnet.org/page/aboutphytobiomes

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That’s some fascinating research. This part was particularly interesting:
“What made a bigger difference was where the sample was taken–in the soil surrounding the plant or from the surface of the root. These two communities were very different.”

Just goes to show how complex the bacterial makeup of soil is and how little we understand about it yet.

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I think it all comes down to the energy surrounding each different organism. Different things repel while others attract. Positives and negatives.

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Symbioses are definitely one of the most complicated parts of analyzing ecosystems, especially on the microscopic scale. We’ve barely scratched the surface of the symbioses occurring in our own intestines, let alone what’s going on with soil environments.

I know one of the microbes I studied in college was named Blochmannia, it’s an endosymbiont you can only find in carpenter ants. They didn’t need Blochmannia to survive, but it definitely improved their quality of life when they had it. (We removed it from queens with antibiotics).

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What part of their quality of life went down? How is ant QOL measured? lol :wink:

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Well, several issues arose when they lacked the endosymbiont:

  1. When they transition from larval to adult forms, they form a cocoon (the ones they formed had properties similar to canvas). Those without the endosymbiont had a lot of difficulty breaking out of the cocoon and would often get stuck. I saw a lot of little worker ants carrying around their cocoons on their backs.
  2. Their chitin took much longer to harden after emerging from the cocoon. Without it, adult workers would still look like newborns even weeks after emerging from the cocoon, whereas it was usually only a day or two for those who had it.
  3. Colonies without that endosymbionts generally seemed to be more timid (ran away from fights) than those that had them. Naturally, this would make them a target for more aggressive ants.
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