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New Discovery on the Mechanics of Keeping Carbon in the Soil and What It Means For Your Pastures

Imagine you’re a carbon molecule floating in the atmosphere and your mission is to get from there into the soil and stay there for decades.

Your first step – slip into a plant through an open stoma.

Stomata are microscopic openings on the surfaces of plant leaves that allow for the easy passage of water vapor, carbon dioxide, and oxygen. They are crucial to the function of leaves as photosynthesis requires plenty of carbon dioxide as well as the release of waste oxygen and excess water.

Inside the plant, you go through your first transformation: photosynthesis. You’re combined with water (H20) and photons from sunlight to become glucose (C6H12O6). You’re now part of the body of the plant. From here, there are multiple routes to your destination, some that take much longer than others. You could become part of the body of a cow or part of her manure. You might be part of a plant that gets trampled onto the soil, or you might be part of the roots that get sloughed off periodically underground.

Whichever route you take, you eventually end up in the soil as organic matter – a tasty meal for soil microbes. As they eat, they respire carbon back into the atmosphere as CO2. That means that if you’re going to accomplish your mission of staying in the soil, you have to avoid these hungry microbes.

Read more: https://onpasture.com/2019/10/21/new-discovery-on-the-mechanics-of-keeping-carbon-in-the-soil-and-what-it-means-for-your-pastures/