It’s not often you’ll hear excitement about the most disgusting y-fronts, but a group of Aussie scientists have been very excited about the dirty, rotten y-fronts they’ve been sent in recent times.
The “Soil Your Undies” research project is designed to assess the soil health around Australia. Apparently cotton y-fronts are the perfect medium to bury and assess the soil. Dr Oliver Knox said, “The more the undies break down, the better shape your soil is in.” The undies were buried for 8 weeks, dug up and assessed.
A lot comes down to organic carbon levels and some of he soils in the south do not have as higher carbon levels to spark the biological activity.
Moisture is also important, if there’s no moisture there’s little microbial activity and it is the same at times of excess moisture when the soil becomes anaerobic – just because the undies didn’t break down does not mean it is automatically bad soil.
[Farmers] can have a look at what they need to do to improve their soil structure, there are obviously constraints in Australia but equally there are things that can be done to get things in better shape, such as planting legume crops or looking at a crop with a long tap root to open up the soil structure.Dr Knox
You can see from the photo below there were vast differences in the post-burial state of the undies. Many schools and community groups were involved in the research. Would you bury undies in your yard in the name of science?