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Swiss Researchers are Burying Thousands of Underpants, For Science

Image for representation only. Credits: Shuttershock.

Image for representation only. Credits: Shuttershock.

The project is designed to raise awareness among masses regarding the global soil erosion, soil infertility and habitat loss.

Swiss scientists have come up with a weird yet novel idea of burying underwear in the ground to expound their study measuring ‘soil health’.As per a report in Science Focus, researchers from the agricultural institute Agroscope in Switzerland have planned a project named Proof By Underpants. Under this project, the researchers will send 2,000 pairs of cotton underpants to volunteers across the nation to bury them in their gardens. The project will be carried out to gauge the quality of the soil and to measure its health.

The study will commence after two to three months when underwear will be dug out and analysed. These underpants will be examined to the extent they have been damaged by microorganisms including fungi, insects, and worms. According to scientists, the more holes or damaged the fabric is, the healthier is the soil.

The website of the project mentions the reason for using cotton underpants in this study. “[Cotton] can serve as a food source for various microorganisms in the soil. They eat the underpants with ravenous hunger,” the project’s website states.

The University of Zurich, which is contributing to the study, said the aim of this path-breaking project is to “shine a spotlight on the essential but rather unknown and fascinating universe below our feet.”

Along with testing the underpants, volunteers and scientists will also analyse teabags which will be buried at the same time. DNA from the surrounding soil will also be examined to determine what kinds of organisms live there.

The project is designed to raise awareness among masses regarding global soil erosion, soil infertility and habitat loss. It is a drive to bring to notice the various factors like excessive use of fertilizers, construction, chemical seeping leading to soil degradation.

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first published:April 22, 2021, 15:54 IST