Measuring Microbes’ Electrical Current Offers Indication of Soil Health

Washington State University researchers published proof-of-concept research that indicates measuring electrical current generated by microbes can indicate soil health. The researchers used a tool developed to measure the electrochemical signal of microbes in aquatic environments to measure the electrical current in soil. When two similar soils were compared, the one that had the higher electrical current had more functioning microbes, and this was, in practice, the more productive soil. The researchers want to test more soils and work on interpretation of the results. “This sensor has the potential to be able to do real-time measurements not just of the structure of the soil, but how it’s actually functioning. It would be a huge advance in the field,” noted one of the study co-authors.