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Plants are in charge of their own nutrient production cycle
by Global Good News staff writer
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22 May 2013
Addressing a recent conference of Maharishi Ayur-Veda* physicians (Vaidyas) in the Netherlands, Dr Peter Swan continued to bring out knowledge of Maharishi Vedic Organic Agriculture as one of the five main specializations of Ayur-Vedic health care—the area involving the use of plants (Dravyaguna). An expert researcher and teacher of Vedic agriculture, Dr Swan covered in non-technical terms the roles of the sun, air, water, minerals, and organic matter in plant nutrition.
Please see Part I of this article: Netherlands: Doctors' conference considers role of Maharishi Vedic Organic Agriculture in health
Describing the 'nutrient production cycle', Dr Swan explained that located in the soil near the finest root structure of the plant, single cell organisms called retainers or digesters live. These microorganisms absorb minerals from rocks and organic matter in the soil. Whatever the retainers touch they stick to, and they are the only organism capable of digesting minerals and organic matter from the soil—plants do not have this ability. Because these single cell organisms stick to everything, they play the critical role of retaining nutrients in the soil.
Dr Swan went on to describe grazers—the protozoa and amoebas, whose role in the nutrient cycle is to graze on, or eat, the retainers. Once a grazer digests the retainer it is overdosed on many elemental substances, and must eliminate the excess quickly in order to avoid a toxic reaction.
Grazers exude the excess nutrients, generally on the root of the plant around which both the retainers and grazers normally cluster, and the plant digests them. Plants get the majority of their nutrients from these microorganisms—the single cell grazers who prey on the bacterial retainers in the soil.
Predators, which include a wide variety of insects and small animals, provide biodiversity in the cycle by munching on the excesses to keep the grazers in balance.
Only about 3% of the dry weight of a plant is mineral content. The remaining 97% is carbohydrate—carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen. Of the carbohydrates and sugars a plant produces, depending on the type of plant a percentage is sent to its roots—for example about 80% in an apple tree. Of that 80%, about half is exuded through the root tips to feed the retainers clustered there. The plant feeds the microorganisms clustered at its root tips in order to be able to get from them the tiny, but essential, amount of nutrient minerals it needs in order to thrive.
Dr Swan summed up this part of his presentation in the principle that, through its roots, the plant is able to get what it needs, in solution, in the right form, at the right place, and at the right time. This is the complete and perfect cycle of plant nutrition. The plant oversees the entire process and varies its root exudates depending on the minerals it needs to get from the retainers.
Global Good News will continue to feature highlights of Dr Swan's conference presentation, in which he also described 'invincible defence mechanisms' and other aspects of intelligence in plant life.
* Ayur-Veda is the world's oldest, most comprehensive system of natural medicine, which originated in the Vedic civilization of ancient India. Maharishi Ayur-Veda is the modern restoration by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi of the complete, authentic practice of Ayurveda as recorded in the Vedic texts.
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