Hi guys, I hope you are well and had an enjoyable Easter despite the ongoing health crisis.
If you have some extra time, I wanted to point out a great soil microbiology webinar that was given by Dr. Paul Carini this past Friday. He gives a great introduction to modern soil microbiology, the molecular methods that are being used to study these complex communities, and the big holes in understanding we have to fill. However, this seminar is directed at other academics and gets into some research questions and methodologies that are going to be over most people's heads. If you feel lost, come back later after I've introduced these concepts more. You can also post a question, and I would be happy to answer!
The talk doesn't really start until 7:45 minutes into the video and I would recommend watching up to at least the 16 minutes to get the full introduction. He then moves on to his research of "relic DNA" in soils which is DNA from dead organisms that remains in the soil. To some degree, this DNA can cause complications with molecular analysis as we end up looking at dead microorganisms. This is unlikely a problem for vermicompost because the community is so active and dead cells/DNA would be rapidly consumed. During the second half of the talk, he touches culturing soil microorganism by washing them off of the soil sample and growing them in cultured media. I immediately thought of the similar vermitea making process and will look into his methodologies more and report back in a later post. The cool finding he mentions is that the microbial communities he washes are fairly representative of what is seen in the soil.
I hope you enjoy the talk (or part of it), and please, if you have any questions, ask!