Linking soil organic matter to plant chemicals thought to be important to human health

The goals of this research are to: 1) identify the fate of organic matter inputs (green manure and straw) with differing carbon to nitrogen ratios, typical in vegetable production in Montana; 2) determine the effects of different soil organic matter content on vegetable crop antioxidant concentrations; and 3) determine the impact of enhanced nutritional value marketing on the sales of locally grown vegetables. Our research hypotheses are: 1) The contribution to the complex carbon pool will be greater with high C:N inputs (straw); 2) The contribution to the labile carbon pool will be greater and subsequent nutrient cycling will be faster with lower C:N inputs (legume green manure); 3) Soils with greater total organic carbon content will produce vegetables with higher antioxidant concentrations and 4) Produce marketed with nutritional information will increase sales.

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