Science of biodynamics: Peer reveiw

Cuttings
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Joined: 01 Feb 2013, 21:54

Science of biodynamics: Peer reveiw

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http://www.demeter-usa.org/for-farmers/science.asp

Peer-Reviewed Articles

Microbiological Features and Bioactivity of a Fermented Manure Product (Preparation 500) Used in Biodynamic Agriculture
Giannattasio, M., E. Vendramin, F. Fornasier, S. Alberghini, M. Zanardo, F. Stellin, et. al. 2013. Microbiological Features and Bioactivity of a Fermented Manure Product (Preparation 500) Used in Biodynamic Agriculture. Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology 23(5) 644-651.

This study focused on one of the compost treatments unique to biodynamics, Preparation 500. After analyzing the microbiology of the preparation, the researchers speculate that the recommended doses of the treatment can positively affect soil by regulating hormones and acting as a biostimulant.

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Soil and Winegrape Quality in Biodynamically and Organically Managed Vineyards
Reeve, J. R., L. Carpenter-Boggs, J. P. Reganold, A.L. York, G. McGourty, and L.P. McCloskey. 2005. Soil and Winegrape Quality in Biodynamicaly and Organically Managed Vineyards. American Journal of Enology and Viticulture 56(4):367-376.

In comparing biodynamically and organically-managed vineyards, this study found that biodynamic grapes had higher Brix, phenols, and anthocyanins than their organic counterparts. The vines were also more balanced (fruit/shoot weight ratios).

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Comparisons of Conventional, Organic, and Biodynamic Methods
Goldstein, W., W. Barber, L. Carpenter-Boggs, D. Dalsoren, C. Koopmans, 2004. Comparisons of Conventional, Organic, and Biodynamic Methods. Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, East Troy, WI, USA.

This study suggests that biodynamic management can result in better crop yields during years when conventionally managed yields are down.

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Soil Fertility and Biodiversity in Organic Farming
Maeder, P., A. Fliessbach, D. Dubois, L. Gunst, P. Fried, and U. Niggli. 2002. Soil Fertility and Biodiversity in Organic Farming. Science 296(5573) 1694-1697.

A 21-year study of various farm management systems found that although organic and biodynamically-managed systems had less yield than traditionally-managed systems, their reduced dependence on external inputs (e.g. fertilizer, pesticides) make them viable alternatives to conventional methods.

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Organic and Biodynamic Management: Effects on Soil Biology
Carpenter-Boggs, L., A.C. Kennedy, and J.P. Reganold. Organic and Biodynamic Management: Effects on Soil Biology. 2000. Soil Science Society of America Journal 64(5):1651-1659.

This short-term study compared soil treated with biodynamic composts and field sprays to untreated soils. The study found that biodynamic composts were similar to organic composts in their ability to increase soil microbial biomass, respiration, dehydrogenase activity, and earthworm population compared to untreated soil. The field sprays were also promising, and resulted in greater MinC and different microbial fatty acid profiles than untreated soil.

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Effects of Biodynamic Preparations on Compost Development
Carpenter-Boggs, L., J.P. Reganold, and A.C. Kennedy. 2000. Effects of Bioldynamic Preparations on Compost Development. Biological Agriculture and Horticulture 17(4) 313-328.

Biodynamic preparations have a “discernable” affect on the chemical and microbial aspects of compost that results in faster maturation than control piles.

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Soil Quality and Financial Performance of Biodynamic and Conventional Farms in New Zealand
Reganold, J.P., A.S. Palmer, J.C. Lockhart, and A.N. Macgregor. 1993. Soil Quality and Financial Performance of Biodynamic and Conventional Farms in New Zealand. Science. 260(5106) 344-349.

This New Zealand study compared biodynamic and conventional farming systems to assess the financial viability of biodynamically-managed farms. The study found that the biodynamic farms not only had superior soil quality (e.g. higher microbial activity, more earthworms, thicker topsoil), but were comparably profitable to their traditional counterparts.


Overviews

Biodynamic Farming & Compost Preparation
Diver, Steve. 1999. Biodynamic Farming & Compost Preparation: Alternative Farming Systems Guide. ATTRA, Butte, MT.

This guide from the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Center gives an introduction to the tenets of biodynamic farming with a special focus on biodynamic composting and associated promising research. The paper also includes helpful summaries of the differences between biodynamic and conventional farming, as well as an extensive collection of further resources on biodynamics.

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The Science Behind Biodynamics
Carpenter-Boggs, Lynne. 2010. The Science Behind Biodynamics. [Internet] http://www.extension.org/pages/28756/th ... ou4b41hytg.

The author of several research papers on biodynamics presents an accessible overview of current findings on biodynamic management and its possible mechanisms of action. Dr. Carpenter-Boggs also gives several helpful tips for farmers who are interested in conducting experiments with biodynamic management on their own farms.

Popular Press

A Radical Approach That is Grounded in Common Sense
Shieh, Tersina. 2012. A Radical Approach That is Grounded in Common Sense. South China Morning Post.

A brief introduction to biodynamics practices as they relate to wine production, including a German study that found that biodynamic vineyard management resulted in healthier grapes.