Getting Down With Soil Scientists

Oregon State University soil scientists are looking below the surface to find out more about soils. James Cassidy, one of OSU’s soil detectives, led a team of students in soil judging. The group stood in a six-foot deep hole the size of a car and had less than an hour to decide what the soil would be best used for. There are layers, colors, textures, smells, and even tastes. Soil can be used just like DNA in crime investigation with one billion types of bacteria per teaspoon. Looking this closely at soils can give farmers better insight into the best type of soil for specific crops. Bacteria found in soil may be able to generate electricity, degrade pollutants in the air, and even make antibiotics.

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