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The hidden half of nature : the microbial roots of life and health /

by Montgomery, David R [author.]; Biklé, Anne [author.].
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: New York : W.W. Norton & Company, [2016]Edition: First edition.Description: 309 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm.ISBN: 9780393244403; 0393244407.Subject(s): Microbiology -- Physiology | Conservation of natural resources | Crops | Health promotion | Soil microbiology
Contents:
Dead dirt -- Thinking small -- Looking into life -- Better together -- War on the soil -- Underground allies -- Too close to home -- Inner nature -- Invisible enemies -- Feuding saviors -- Personal alchemists -- Tending the garden -- Courting ancient friends -- Cultivating health.
Summary: "Prepare to set aside what you think you know about yourself and microbes. Good health--for people and for plants--depends on Earth's smallest creatures. [This book] tells the story of our tangled relationship with microbes and their potential to revolutionize agriculture and medicine, from garden to gut"--Dust jacket flap.
List(s) this item appears in: Earth Day
    average rating: 0.0 (0 votes)
Item type Home library Collection Shelving location Call number Status Date due Barcode
Books Books Altadena Main Library
Adult Collection Adult NonFiction 579.17 MON (Browse shelf) Checked out 05/07/2019 39270004492231

Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

A riveting exploration of how microbes are transforming the way we see nature and ourselves--and could revolutionize agriculture and medicine.

Prepare to set aside what you think you know about yourself and microbes. Good health--for people and for plants--depends on Earth's smallest creatures. The Hidden Half of Nature tells the story of our tangled relationship with microbes and their potential to revolutionize agriculture and medicine, from garden to gut.

When David R. Montgomery and Anne Biklé decide to restore life into their barren yard by creating a garden, dead dirt threatens their dream. As a cure, they feed their soil a steady diet of organic matter. The results impress them. In short order, the much-maligned microbes transform their bleak yard into a flourishing Eden. Beneath their feet, beneficial microbes and plant roots continuously exchange a vast array of essential compounds. The authors soon learn that this miniaturized commerce is central to botanical life's master strategy for defense and health.

They are abruptly plunged further into investigating microbes when Biklé is diagnosed with cancer. Here, they discover an unsettling truth. An armada of bacteria (our microbiome) sails the seas of our gut, enabling our immune system to sort microbial friends from foes. But when our gut microbiome goes awry, our health can go with it. The authors also discover startling insights into the similarities between plant roots and the human gut. We are not what we eat. We are all--for better or worse--the product of what our microbes eat.

This leads to a radical reconceptualization of our relationship to the natural world: by cultivating beneficial microbes, we can rebuild soil fertility and help turn back the modern plague of chronic diseases. The Hidden Half of Nature reveals how to transform agriculture and medicine--by merging the mind of an ecologist with the care of a gardener and the skill of a doctor.

Includes bibliographical references and index.

Dead dirt -- Thinking small -- Looking into life -- Better together -- War on the soil -- Underground allies -- Too close to home -- Inner nature -- Invisible enemies -- Feuding saviors -- Personal alchemists -- Tending the garden -- Courting ancient friends -- Cultivating health.

"Prepare to set aside what you think you know about yourself and microbes. Good health--for people and for plants--depends on Earth's smallest creatures. [This book] tells the story of our tangled relationship with microbes and their potential to revolutionize agriculture and medicine, from garden to gut"--Dust jacket flap.

Table of contents provided by Syndetics

  • Introduction (p. 1)
  • 1 Dead Dirt (p. 7)
  • 2 Thinking Small (p. 24)
  • 3 Looking into Life (p. 35)
  • 4 Better Together (p. 52)
  • 5 War on the Soil (p. 64)
  • 6 Underground Allies (p. 89)
  • 7 Too Close to Home (p. 109)
  • 8 Inner Nature (p. 131)
  • 9 Invisible Enemies (p. 157)
  • 10 Feuding Saviors (p. 172)
  • 11 Personal Alchemists (p. 191)
  • 12 Tending the Garden (p. 208)
  • 13 Courting Ancient Friends (p. 224)
  • 14 Cultivating Health (p. 247)
  • Glossary (p. 261)
  • Notes (p. 265)
  • Sources (p. 270)
  • Acknowledgments (p. 291)
  • Index (p. 295)

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

Geologist Montgomery (geomorphology, Univ. of Washington, Seattle; The Rocks Don't Lie) and biologist Biklé share their personal accounts of transforming their yard into a lush garden after feeding the soil with organic matter. They also write about Biklé's battle with cancer, which propels them deeper into researching microbes. The authors argue that microbes are beneficial and powerful healers that can help infertile crops and battle chronic diseases. Additionally, eating certain foods helps to build healthy microbes. The authors demonstrate that humans and plants have more in common than many realize. A science background is not necessary for readers of this title as the authors do a fine job of explaining scientific terms and processes; they make the material exciting and intimate. VERDICT Recommended for general readers wishing to learn more about gardening, sustainability, and nutrition, as well as students and scholars of geology, microbiology, botany, the history of science, public health, agriculture, and nutrition.-Tina Chan, SUNY Oswego © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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