Digging your underpants

You can wear your cotton underpants, but burying it might be an option as well. Farmers from California came up with this idea. In accordance to the blogging website Foodlog it also gains popularity in the Netherlands.

Below ground, the underwear will be slowly decomposed by soil organisms. The speed of this process is determined by many different factors, such as humidity, climate, but also the diversity of soil organisms. One that digs up his collection of pants after two months will therefore be able to assess some aspects of soil quality.


The basic idea behind this test does exist already for years. For instance, burring tea bags is already common sense among soil ecologists for years. There is even a clear scientific methods paper describing the exact procedure. Up to now already dozens of scientific papers that use this method are are written.

Whether the underpants tests will also become such a sound scientific method remains a question. In order to compare the samples sufficiently, many forms of standardization are needed. As far as we know, there is not yet any consensus regarding underpants factors like brand, model and size.