An article published in The Journal1 in 1950 stated that malnutrition exists among many peoples of the world because the productivity of the land available is not sufficient to provide an adequate food supply; thus, the improvement of soil fertility is an important step toward the betterment of the health of these peoples. From a review of the experimental evidence, however, it was concluded that the principal effect of soil improvement, in terms of human health, was to increase the yield of a given food crop rather than to enhance its nutritional quality. Genetic and climatic factors, rather than soil factors, were found to be the important ones governing variations in the nutrient content of a specific harvested crop.
Although many additional papers on this subject have appeared during the past six years, none of them contains data that call into question the general conclusion previously reached. There have
Maynard LA. EFFECT OF FERTILIZERS ON THE NUTRITIONAL VALUE OF FOODS. JAMA. 1956;161(15):1478–1480. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.62970150006010
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