0 items / $0.00

Soil References

We Need To Talk About Soil


Here are all the references for Matthew’s TedX talk on Soil.

You can watch the delightfully entertaining talk here.

A word on the links below. Some of them have been struck through. This seems to be some random and slightly irritating thing that WordPress does to certain URLs. The links still work.


TEDx References


[1]  European Commission, ‘The Soil is Alive!’, Convention on Biological Diversity, 22 May 2008

[1] https://esdac.jrc.ec.europa.eu/Library/Themes/Biodiversity/CBP/7.pdf


[1] https://www.soilassociation.org/causes-campaigns/save-our-soil/10-soil-facts/

[1] https://bsapubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.3732/ajb.1000298#:~:text=Fungal%20habitats%20include%20soil%2C%20water,5.1%20million%20fungal%20species%20exist.


[1] There are 10 kilometres of hyphae in a teaspoon of soil (some say more) – Graham Stirling et al., Soil Health, Soil Biology, Soilborne Diseases and Sustainable Agriculture, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne, 2016, p. 27


[1] https://www.csiro.au/en/research/animals/insects/Roundworms-Research

[1] https://ecoevocommunity.nature.com/posts/51125-soil-nematodes



[1] https://www.ars.usda.gov/plains-area/sidney-mt/northern-plains-agricultural-research-laboratory/nparl-docs/just-for-kids/soils-organisms/ and also original work by Dr. Andrew Moldenke, now semi retired Research Professor who specialised in the computer identification of arthropods in the dept of Botany and Plant Pathology at Oregon State University.


[1] https://www.madr.ro/docs/ind-alimentara/risipa_alimentara/presentation_food_waste.pdf

[1] https://www.fao.org/3/ca4395en/ca4395en.pdf

The most cited estimate of global soil erosion in agricultural land by Pimentel et al.22 is equal to 73.5 Pg yr−1. Citations on global soil erosion estimates during the last three decades estimated around 75 Pg yr−1 of soil eroded in cropland: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-017-02142-7#:~:text=The%20most%20cited%20estimate%20of,eroded%20in%20cropland19%2C23.  (A petagram is 1 x 10 to the power of 13 = 75000000000000kg) = 9375kg soil lost/person/year. About 8.6kg/person/meal/year for 8 billion people at three meals/day.

[1] Some 104 million square kilometres of Earth is habitable, so it could, potentially, have topsoil – Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser, ‘Land Use’, Our World in Data, September 2019, https://ourworldindata.org/land-use

[1] https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/7/5/4870

[1] IBID

[1] A soccer pitch of soil is eroded every five seconds. http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/1194252/icode/

[1] ‘The nearly 1.5 billion hectares of world cropland now under cultivation
for crop production are almost equal in area to the amount of cropland
(2 billion hectares) that has been abandoned by humans since farming began’ – David Pimentel and Michael Burgess, ‘Soil Erosion Threatens Food Production’, Agriculture, vol. 3 no. 3, 8 August 2013, pp. 443–63 &

The FAO … finds that over 6 billion hectares, 66 per cent of the world’s land, has been affected by degradation, leaving roughly only a third of the world’s surface in good condition’ – H.K. Gibbs and J.M. Salmon, ‘Mapping the world’s degraded lands’, Applied Geography, vol. 57, February 2015, pp. 12–21



[1] Rattan Lal, ‘Soil Carbon Sequestration Impacts on Global Climate Change and Food Security’, Science, vol. 304 no. 5677, July 2004, pp. 1623–7, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/8515631_Soil_Carbon_Sequestration_Impacts_on_Global_Climate_Change_and_Food_Security

[1] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/200736458_Sequestration_of_atmospheric_CO2_in_global_carbon_pools

[1] https://www.asmscience.org/content/education/imagegallery/image.3180

“More than one-half of the antibiotics used in human medicine, including aureomycin, chloromycetin, kanamycin, neomycin, streptomycin, and terramycin, come from soil actinomycetes. The smell of freshly turned soil is due to metabolic end products called geosmins that are produced by these organisms and move through soil as unseen volatiles.”


[1] https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/the-influence-of-soil-on-human-health-66885


[1] https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/newborns_exposed_to_dirt_dander_and_germs_may_have_lower_allergy_and_asthma_risk


[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6780873/


[1] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/235775776_Ingestion_of_Mycobacterium_vaccae_decreases_anxiety-related_behavior_and_improves_learning_in_mice


[1] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15151947/


[1] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33283862/


[1] M. vaccae has a role in affects of aging on rats brains. That’s because vaccae is a immunoregulatory and anti-inflammatory bacterium. 2022. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-022-05275-y


Vaccae increases activity in some parts of brain while decreasing heart rate. From 2022. 29 adults asked to mix soil for 5 minutes then tested for physiological responses. https://journals.ashs.org/jashs/view/journals/jashs/147/3/article-p135.xml


Literary review: Vaccae useful in psoriasis, potential in asthma, dermatitis, and even in some lung cancer (confirmed trend in later O’Brien studies). 2021

“Preparations of M. vaccae NCTC 11659 have been shown to be beneficial in a plethora of conditions such as TB, leprosy, psoriasis, dermatitis, allergy, asthma, and several cancers as well as inescapable and chronic psychosocial stress.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8657684/

Cancers include melanoma, renal cancer, prostate cancer and a couple of lung cancers.

O’Brien’s study, when lack of compliance was factored into a new study (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0959804907006922), showed patients lived 135 days longer (those with adenocarcinoma) but no extra lifespan with small cell carcinoma. Patients had less pain, felt less nauseous, vomited less, felt more alert, had better cognitive functioning and showed more vitality.


[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6696970/

[1] Ergothioneine goes through blood brain barrier. 2018 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5785509/


Ergothioneine decrease a risk factor in degenerative disease in people. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0006291X16311962

Enhances blood flow to gastrointestinal tract (changes mucus lining)


Ergothioneine acts as an antidepressant in mice. https://europepmc.org/article/PMC/4842932



[1] https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpls.2019.00157/full


[1] Recent research (2022) on amino acid ergothioneine – an explainer. https://www.psu.edu/news/story/soil-tillage-reduces-availability-longevity-vitamin-ergothioneine-crops/  original research here: https://www.mdpi.com/2073-4395/11/11/2278



[1] “Soil Disturbance Impact on Crop Ergothioneine Content Connects Soil and Human Health”. https://www.mdpi.com/2073-4395/11/11/2278


[1] https://www.ars.usda.gov/plains-area/sidney-mt/northern-plains-agricultural-research-laboratory/nparl-docs/just-for-kids/soils-organisms/