Conservation Training

Exploring the Link Between Soil and Human Health—Protein, Protein Quality, and the Nutraceutical Amino Acid Ergothioneine

April 26, 2023

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Location: Online

This webinar will be a project update of a multidisciplinary project funded by the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR). This project seeks to link soil and human health by investigating the relationship between agricultural practices, soil microbiology, and crop nutrient quality in grain crops, specifically wheat and corn. This study is measuring plant available nitrogen and soil microbial structure along with concentrations of protein, amino acids, B vitamins, and the nutraceutical amino acid ergothioneine in grain crops produced in long-term systems trials, on working farms, and in controlled field and laboratory studies.

Active research on ergothioneine is finding that this amino acid has antioxidant properties and increasingly apparent human health benefits. It is only biosynthesized by fungi and fungi-like bacteria, is present in many foods, and plants obtain it through an unknown mechanism where it is transferred up the food chain to animals and humans. Thus, there should be a clear link between soil microbiomes, ergothioneine biosynthesis in the soil, its concentration in plants, and human health.