June 9, 2020

Does soil health affect human health?

PIs: James Herrera (Duke), Charles Welch (Duke), Randall Kramer (Duke), Michelle Pender (Duke), Alan Franzluebbers (NC State, USDA)

Spring 2020 Seed Grant in Pathogenic and Commensal Organisms

The degradation of natural environments not only threatens biodiversity, but also the ecosystem services crucial to human health. We propose a planetary health project that combines research and intervention to increase the sustainability and health of farmers in northeast Madagascar (SAVA region). Specifically, we will investigate the links among soil health, agricultural practices, diet and food security, socioeconomics, and health in rural populations. We will study the effects of farming practices on soil health via physical, chemical, and biological analyses. In turn, data on diets and population health will allow us to understand how food insecurity and micronutrient deficiencies are related to malnutrition. We will conduct interventions to teach about agroecology methods that improve soil health, as well as about nutritious balanced diets that improve human health.

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