Biodynamic research is research into the Biodynamic method of agriculture. Motivated to improve Biodynamic agriculture and deepen the understanding of it, independent research facilities emerged decades ago e.g. in 1950, the Institute for Biodynamic Research in Germany (www.forschungsring.de) was founded. They were at the same time, the first research institutions of organic farming. In some European countries there are now institutions which deal partly or mainly with Biodynamic research (see attached list). The international contact for Biodynamic research programs is the Agricultural Section at the Goetheanum.
Biodynamic research covers all major areas of the agricultural sciences, where many issues of significance not only for Biodynamic agriculture, but also for organic farming in general are being studied e.g. soil fertility, food quality and plant breeding. In addition, there is research focus naturally on the Biodynamic preparations. Primarily, the classical scientific method of investigation is used.
Biodynamic agriculture is based on a broader understanding of the human being, plant, animal, earth and cosmos. It is therefore closely connected with the development of research methods that seek to understand human nature in a holistic way.
A hallmark of these research approaches is to give serious recognition to the holistic human being and how consciousness is accessed. This is associated with the appreciation of ones own senses. Knowledge will not result from a rapid integration of the facts into an existing paradigm (like materialism). An unbiased, i.e. model-free, consideration of phenomena will create the possibility to learn new things and unexpected facts about the particular object of study.
Goethe in his natural science investigations established this method. Rudolf Steiner developed the approach further, naming it accordingly ‘Goetheanism’. One of the resulting applications is the Goethean observation of plants - plants are seen in a time continuum allowing statements to be made about for instance harmony in their development (www.anthrobotanik.eu). The phenomenological observation of life leads to an appreciation of the manifestations of the life of plants, animals, etc. in their rhythms, transformations and relationships with nature and the cosmos. It provides guidance for a broader understanding of living things and their context.
Research on Biodynamic quality means studying maturity, aging, organ formation (e.g. seed, fruit, leaf) or light and shade effects since these are seen as being just as important for the evaluation of food as an analysis of their nutritive components.
Central to the indirect perception of such effects in foods are the so-called picture-forming methods such as copper chloride crystallization and paper chromatography. These are imaging techniques which use the sensitivity of certain metal salts to respond to the addition of small quantities of organic matter in solution by generating specific forms and colours. The two methods have been scientifically validated in recent years at the University of Kassel.www.uni-kassel.de/agrar/nue/documents/20110727zalecka.pdfwww.uni-kassel.de/agrar/nue/documents/20110727busscher.pdf A number of scientific papers on the methods are available. Copper chloride crystallization and chromatography are used at the Forschungsring e.V. amongst other research stations in Germany for the development of quality in Biodynamic products.
The holistic understanding of humans also causes observations to be taken seriously, which can not be classified using the senses because they are of a soul-spiritual nature. Out of a training in observation of the self and the natural world, a method has emerged to detect forces that constitute the living and lead to their sensory perception. This so-called formative forces research initiated by D. Schmidt has become an element of Biodynamic research into quality in recent years.
Using it, the effects of food on the human body and life forces can be closely monitored and characterised.
Although Biodynamic research is based on high ideals, it is not unworldly; it is aimed at solving fundamental and current issues. Some examples are:
II Selected research results (from 2000 on)
Soil and Compost:
Turinek M., S. Grobelnik-Mlakar, M. and F. Bavec Bavec 2009: Biodynamic agriculture research progress and priorities. Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems: 24 (2), 146-154
Raupp, J., Oltmanns, M. (2006): Soil properties, crop yield and quality with farmyard manure with and without biodynamic preparations and with inorganic fertilizers. In: Raupp, J., Pekrun, C., Oltmanns, M., Köpke, U. (Eds.), Long-term Field Experiments in Organic Farming. ISOFAR Scientific Series 1, Verlag Dr. Köster, Berlin, 135-155
Ngosong, C., Jarosch, M., Raupp, J., Neumann, E., Ruess, L. (2010): The impact of farming practices on soil microorganisms and Arbuscular mycorrhiza fungi: Crop type versus long-term mineral and organic fertilisation. Applied Soil Ecology 46, 134-142
Mäder, P., Fließbach, A., Dubois D., Gunst, L., Fried, P., and Niggli, U. 2002. Soil fertility and biodiversity in organic farming. Science 296:1694-1697.
Fließbach, A., Oberholzer HR, Gunst, L., and Mäder, P. 2007 Soil organic matter and biological soil quality indicators after 21 years of organic and conventional farming. In Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 118:273-284.
Jennifer R. Reeve et al. 2010: Influence of biodynamic preparations on compost development and resultant compost extracts on wheat seedling growth, Bioresource Technology, Volume 101, Issue 14, July 2010, Pages 5658-5666, ISBN 0960-8524, 10.1016/j.biotech.2010.01.144.
Reeve JR, Carpenter-Boggs L, Reganold JP, York AL, McGourty G, McGlosky LP 2005: Soil and wine grapes in biodynamically and organically managed vineyards. Am. J. Enol. Vitic. 56:4.
Fritz J, Meissner G, Athmann M, Köpke U. 2009: Investigation of grape juice with the three image-forming methods: copper chloride crystallization, vertical paper chromatography and Round filter paper chromatography. In Mayer et al. Contributions to the 10th Scientific Conference on Organic Agriculture. Vlg Dr Köster Berlin
Heimler D, Vignolini P, Arfaioli, Isolani L, Romania A. 2011: Conventional, organic and Biodynamic farming: differences in polyphenol content and antioxidant activity of Batavia lettuce. J Agric Sci 2011; 91:0.
Baars T, Kusche D, Wohlers J, MOSLER S. 2011: Biodynmaic Milk quality. Lebender Erde 1/2011, pp. 42-45.
Simoes-Wüst AP, Rist L, Mueller A, Huber M, Steinhart H, Thijs C. 2011: Consumption of dairy products of Biodynamic origin is correlated with increased contents of rumenic and trans-vaccenic acid in the breast milk of lactating women. Org Agr. DOI 10.1007/s13165-011-0013-4.
Other effects of the preparations
Hagel I, Haneklaus S, Schnug E, Spieß H. 2002: Mineral content and gluten stability of winter wheat related to variety and use of the Biodynamic silica preparation. Dt. Ges. Qualitätsforschung, 37th lecture series, Hannover, pp. 75-80
Spieß H. 2002: The importance of the BD preparations in the optimization of field measures and plant husbandry. IBDF e.V., Darmstadt, Series 16, pp. 51-59
III List of research institutes also carrying out BD research
International contacts for Biodynamic research questions
Europe:Section for Agriculture at the Goetheanum Hügelweg 59 CH-4143 Dornach phone +41 61706-4212 fax +41 61706-4215 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.sektion-landwirtschaft.org
FiBL - Forschungsinstitut für biologischen Landbau
Ackerstrasse CH-5070 Frick phone: +41 62 865-7272 fax: +41 62 865-7273 Email: email@example.com www.fibl.org
Forschungsring für Biologisch-Dynamische Wirtschaftsweise e.V.
Brandschneise 5 DE-64295 Darmstadt Phone: +49 6155-84210 Fax: +49 6155-842125 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.forschungsring.de www.biodynamic-research.net
Forschung & Züchtung Dottenfelderhof
Landbauschule Dottenfelderhof e.V. Dottenfelderhof DE-61118 Bad Vilbel Phone: +49 6101-129934 Fax: +49 6101- 524565 Email: email@example.com www.dottenfelderhof.de/zuechtung-forschung.html
Institut für Organischen Landbau Uni Bonn
Katzenburgweg 3 DE-53115 Bonn Phone: +49 228-73 5615 Fax: +49 228-73 5617 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.uni-bonn.de/iol/
Louis Bolk Instituut
Hoofdstraat 24 NL-3972 LA Driebergen Phone: +31343 -523 860 Fax: +31 343 - 515 611 Email: email@example.com www.louisbolk.org/ SBFI Stiftelsen Biodynamiska Forskningsinstitutet Skilleby gård
SE-153 91 Järna Phone: +46 8 551- 577 02 Fax: +46 8 551- 577 81 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.jdb.se/sbfi/ Forschungsinstitut am Goetheanum Hügelweg 59 CH-4143 Dornach Phone: +41 61706-4212 Fax: +41 61706-4215 Email: Sektion.Landwirtschaft@goetheanum.ch www.sektion-landwirtschaft.org/
Association Biodynamie Recherche5, place de la Gare F-68000 Colmar Phone: +33 3 89 24 13 36 Email : email@example.com www.biodynamie-recherche.org
AfricaEgyptian Biodynamic Association (EBDA) 3 Belbes Desert Road POB 1535 Alf Maskan 11777 Cairo EGYPT phone +202 2656-4124 fax +202 2656-5930 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org/english/cultural/EBDA North America Michael Fields Agricultural Institute PO Box 990 W 2493 County Road ES 53120 East Troy, Wisconsin UNITED STATES phone +1 262 642-3303 fax +1 262 642-4028 www.michaelfields.org
South AmericaASSOCIAÇÃO BRASILEIRA DE AGRICULTURA BIODINÂMICA CNPJ: 00.835.771/0001-07 Rod.Gastão Dal Farra Km 04 - Demétria - Cx.P: 1016 CEP-18603-970 - Botucatu/SP - Brazil phone/ fax: +55 14 3815 7862 / 3882 6282 Caixa Postal: 1016 Cep: 18.600-971 Botucatu/SP www.biodinamica.org.br