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Soil Biodiversity Effects from Field to Fork

Authors: (Rillig et al., 2018)

Abstract: Our knowledge of soil biodiversity in agriculture in general is currently increasing rapidly. However, almost all studies have stopped with the quantification of soil biodiversity effects on crops at harvest time, ignoring subsequent processes along the agrifood chain until food arrives on our plates. Here we develop a conceptual framework for the study of such postharvest effects. We present the main mechanisms (direct and indirect) via which soil biodiversity can influence crop quality aspects and give examples of how effects at harvest time may become attenuated through postharvest operations and how biodiversity may also affect some of these operations (i.e., storage) themselves. Future research with a broader focus has the potential to unveil how soil biodiversity may benefit from what ends up on our forks.

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