A healthy microbiome: Farming without drugs and chemicals

Large scale farming must care for both what we can see and what we cannot see. Farming methods must be chemical-free and drug-free, using the best technologies to produce quality nutritious food, naturally. That is sustainable farming for wholesome food.

Our current model of commercial farming relies on drugs, antibiotics, steroids and many other chemicals to accelerate growth and kill pathogens. These drugs and chemicals remain in our food chain and in our environment, slowly poisoning us.

The key to a healthy plant or animal is a healthy microbiome

We have only in the last decade begun to discover the multitude of the microbes in and around plants, animals and humans, and understand the intricate, significant and critical role they play in plant and animal metabolism and health. These microbes help in withstanding abiotic (environmental) stress, strengthening against biotic stress (pathogens, fungus), and is crucial in nutrient sequestration. [KLOSS article “Our Food - the Microbes in our Body keeps us Healthy” 02 August 2018]

Because drugs and chemicals are indiscriminate, they weaken these good microbes. Case in point: the antibiotic resistance problem causing serious health problem being experienced worldwide is fuelled in part by over-prescription and in part by the indiscriminate use of these drugs in animal feed.

The key to a healthy plant or animal is thus to nurture the microbiome, balancing the microbiota, rather than to kill pathogens or to feed the plant and animal cells with growth chemicals or drugs.

Agrochemicals Farming

The use of agrochemicals only started at the beginning of the 20th century. Nitrogen-based synthetic fertilizer, primarily in the form of ammonia compounds, now forms the backbone of the world food supply. These fertilizers together with other agrochemicals like pesticides, herbicides and fungicides have enabled farmers to feed billions more people than our planet could otherwise support.

However, this has come at a great hidden cost. Plant genomes have been altered through the production of chemically tolerant, modified and uniform seeds that both lack the diversity of nature as well as unbalanced the role and strength of the microbiota nature provided to do the same tasks.

Agrochemicals, through production or leaching, have also resulted in substantial environmental and ecological damage. Around 2% of the world’s energy consumption goes towards the industrial manufacture of nitrogen, mainly for agrochemicals - this high energy use leaves a large greenhouse gas footprint. [Science, 08 Aug 2014; Vol. 345, Issue 6197, pp. 610]

Read an interesting blog printed in Scientific American 20 August 2019: “Broccoli is dying. Corn is toxic. Long live microbiomes!”, Louise Elizabeth Maher-Johnson, Ayana Elizabeth Johnson.

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/long-live-microbiomes/

Nutribiotics Farming

Instead of the agrochemicals model of using chemicals and drugs to promote growth and treat diseases, the Preventative Model of farming recognises the crucial role the microbiota plays in the growth and health of plants and animals.

Nutribiotics Farming follows this Preventative Model – it nurtures and strengthens the microbial ecosystem inside and outside the plant or animal, keeping the good native and foreign microbial colonies robust. Microbes beneficial to the plant or animal and pathogens that affect their health thrive under differing environmental conditions. Nutribiotics Farming maintains an environment favourable to good microbes. Building a good microbial ecosystem reduces the ability of pathogenic microbes to form health-threatening colonies.

[See KLOSS articles “Our food – Microbes and the Future of Agriculture” 03 August 2018, and “Preventative Approach to Managing Pathogenic Bacteria” 02 September 2019].

A Nutribiotics Farming system generally comprises:

  • Probiotics: live lactobacillus strains that both adds to and enhances the favourable ecosystem for good microbial colonies;
  • Postbiotics: is non-live, and contains all the elements required to keep the native good microbes (internal) and foreign symbiotic microbes (external) robust and healthy;
  • Environmental management to provide favourable environmental conditions for good microbes in the environment, and helping to prevent the growth of pathogenic colonies;
  • Controlled organic carbon content for carbon sequestration when used for plants.
  • Nutribiotics in the processing of farm output into food in the supply chain in order to enhance food health and food safety.

A nutribiotics based farming system to supply antibiotic-free and drug-free poultry for the Singapore market has been on-going as a commercial operation in Malaysia since 2011. The farm operates as a commercial, high intensity farm which also addresses the welfare of the poultry, minimises the impact on the environment and on natural resource use. The poultry so farmed has been shown to be significantly lower in saturated fats, and of a higher quality (tastier and more tender) and higher nutritional value than from other farming methods.

 

KLOSS & Associates has a passion for socially responsible large-scale production of nutritious and wholesome foods. We believe that protecting the biome of our food plants and animals must be a paramount direction in farming. It is the future of farming, for our health and the health of our children.

We always appreciate projects, funding and networking collaboration opportunities to develop Nutribiotics Farming systems with similarly passionate partners.