1. A correction. UV does penetrate significant distances in clear sea water - many meters, in fact. But, that is not the case with soil.
2. David Wagner is certainly not "off the planet" with his comments regarding the use of steam. I was not aware of the Amish practice, but it makes good sense. Think of plant nurseries, think of steam (moist heat) autoclaving of soil.
It can be done, and has been done for years.
As a caution, however. Not everything is killed by standard steam autoclaving of nursery soil. Some trials on the growth of bryophytes on karst soils carried out by Alison Downing in Sydney (Macquarie University) showed that the standard autoclaving of soil did not necessarily kill some bryophyte spores (Riccia, for example). But, Riccia has large spores with thick walls.
Prof Rod Seppelt
Principal Research Scientist
Australian Antarctic Division
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