From ashes to fly larvae, new ideas may revive soil

STORY: Could fly larvae droppings or liquid clay revive farm soil?

Scientists and developers are looking at new and largely unproven methods

as extreme weather and human activity degrade the world's arable land

[Liquid clay]

Some companies are injecting liquid clay to turn dry desert ground into green landscapes

It helps trap moisture, encouraging fruit to grow

Norway-based Desert Control has spent 18 years and $25 million developing liquid clay

Trial data showed that romaine lettuce hearts grew up to 53% larger


Biochar is the burnt residue of plants and wood waste

It's an artificial means of creating a carbon-rich product to boost soils

Research has shown that clay soil treated with biochar emitted drastically less nitrous oxide

Some types of biochar increased yields up to 54% while requiring less fertilizer

[Fly larvae droppings]

‘Frass’ is the waste and skin of Black Soldier Fly larvae

Composted frass led to a 12% increase in plant-nourishing soil organic matter

which would otherwise decline over time, according to research by Nutrition Technologies

While most Malaysian fertilizer producers now sell frass

volumes are still too low to draw the attention of global agriculture companies