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Andreas Fliessbach
(Dr. sc. agr.)

Department of Soil Sciences
Group lead Soil Fertility
Ackerstrasse 113
CH-5070 Frick

Phone +41 (0)62 865-7225

New technical note: Decomposition study using tea bags

This factsheet was provided by the FertilCrop project partner Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL, Frick, Switzerland

(January 05, 2017) 

Comparing the decomposition of green tea as a fast-decomposing material with rooibos as a material, which is difficult to break down, allows for the calculation of the tea bag index. This provides information on the capability of the soil as a living organism to transform organic residues back into plant-available nutrients and make some contribution to the build-up of soil humus. This technique is easy to apply. Place the tea bag in the soil and take it out after three months to see how much is left. It is fascinating to discover the result of our hard working little helpers in the soil and how this work is giving nutrients to a new generation of plants.

The technical note "Decomposition study using tea bags" explains how this method can be applied. It was produced in the FertilCrop Project (Fertility Building Management Measures in Organic Crop-ping Systems).

Further information


Andreas Fliessbach

About FertilCrop

Fertility Building Management Measures in Organic Crop-ping Systems – FertilCrop is a project funded CORE Organic Plus Funding Bodies, being partners of the FP7 ERA-Net project CORE Organic Plus. The overall aim of FertilCrop is to develop efficient and sustainable management tech-niques aimed at increasing crop productivity in organic farming systems. More information about FertilCrop is available at www.fertilcrop.net.



orgprints.org: Decomposition study using tea bags