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Organic Nutrients - Do Plants Know the Difference? The Oceans Do!

April 01, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 185

Likely the most overused word of the first decade of the millennium, "sustainability" has been much abused by everyone who might have an interest in profiting from the word "green" or "organic" - even though reality illustrates time and again that Mother Nature creates a truly sustainable environs.

Even organic farms, stress by state and federal regulations and America's fascination with perfect-looking food (despite what it costs to create it) must add nutrients to their systems to meet the increasing demand by a growing population of humans. These nutrients might be in the form of something "natural" such as bat guano, which is high in urea.

Things in a farm's agri-ecosystem might be easier to manage except that nutrients getting to a plant's roots are only in the 30 percent range, leaving 70 percent of the "beneficials" bypassing root systems - and heading into the local runoff or water table. This obviously increases harmful salts in its final resting place - be they lakes or oceans.

For California and its coastal waters, these urea concentrations have artificially stimulated the secretion of high levels of harmful toxins (domoica acid) by diatoms (Pseudo-nitzschia) normally satisfied to float around and enjoy the California sunshine. The first incident reported was in 1998.

Laboratory experiments have shown Pseudo-nitzschia, once exposed to higher levels of urea, will secrete domoic acid. In the ocean off California, the toxin can be secreted in such abundance that it will create a visible, oily slick. Plankton-feeders such as the sardine, feed on the diatoms, concentrate and isolate the domoic acid toxin in their bodies and sea lions consume the sardines. Many sea lions die from the toxin which affects their hypothalamus in the form of a neurotoxin.

Affected sea lions wash ashore and if still alive show various neurologic symptoms such as tremors and waving of the head. Given human intervention, a large percent be rehabilitated and released but time has shown that these neuro symtoms do return years later. Some may recall the wandering sea lion found 100 miles inland in a California artichoke field.

Is There An Answer?

Given increasing demands on farmlands for a growing (polluting) human population, and to meet state and federal regulations - which can be costly - farms must increase production or die. This means a constant stream of nutrients must be repeatedly applied and the soil is nothing more than a hold-fast for roots. There is nothing sustainable about it. As most farms are already heavily regulated, and the other issues mentioned above appear unregulated, this problem of flushing our effluent to the ocean will shift to other countries who will gladly fill America's needs. Countries we cannot regulate for the most part. We are truly putting ourselves between the devil and the deep blue sea.

Source: EzineArticles
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