Soil Your Undies

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.

Jockey Classic Y-Front Brief 2 Pack M90002 White Mens Underwear
y-front undies
From: Undie Warehouse

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?

A collage of the various states of decomposition of undies sent in to the Soil Your Undies project put together by UNE's Kieran Meaney.
From: Daily Liberal

11 comments on “Soil Your Undies

  1. Giggling Fattie

    June 4, 2021 at 9:12 pm Reply

    Okies Aussie translations please: what is a y-front? LOL is it that style of underwear?

  2. Oh πŸ™ I thought everyone would know y-front, I didn’t realise that was an Aussie thing. Yeah, it’s a style of men’s underwear (I’ll add an image to the post to make it clear!)

  3. Giggling Fattie

    June 4, 2021 at 9:53 pm Reply

    πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ we call them briefs here. Or “tightie whities” LOL

  4. Haha such a weird cultural difference LOL

  5. Interesting research project.

  6. Seems to be an archaic project. This is the 21st century. There are so many devices that could do the same thing.

    I wonder about the use of colored undies too, maybe even boxer briefs.

    • There are many devices, but they cost money and the team wanted to get the data at the same time from as many sites around the country as they could. So schools, community groups, farmers etc all jumped on board and did the undie thing. Now with that data they can focus their research (a cheap and timely way of finding appropriate sites for further study).

  7. I thought it was interesting and clever.

  8. Well, this is fascinating! Anything for science!

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