64 Twenty-n·i—nth Annual Report of the l  
V 1 S
By A. M. PETER, Acting Head. ; it
I e
..1. '   t
l 1
The work of the Department of Research was under the   a
general guidance and control of the late Director Joseph H.   c
Kastle from the time of its establishment until his death, in  
September last. ln addition to the research work already {
referred to in the presentation of the reports of the several de- 1 C
partments, many interesting lines of work, most of them sug- ; {
gested by Dr. Kastle. have been carried out by Messrs. Healy. , {
Buckner, Shedd and Mellargue, of this department, a brief syn-   ]
opsis of which is here presented as the report of the Depart- H
ment of Research. S
The study ot the action of bacteria and yeasts in rendering 1
the potassium of soil silicates soluble has been vigorously prose- U
euted. The chemistry department eo-operated with the re- C
search department in this work, Dr. Healy and Mr. Gott doing  
the baetcriologieal part, while Drs. Blumenthal and Peter tool: C
care of the chemical part. A large number of experiments were S
made to test the solvent action ot bacterial cultures upon the min-
erals phlogopite. muscovite. biotite. and orthoelase and upon (V
the insoluble silicious residue from the digestion of soils in acid. ,,
Au appreciable positive action was observed in a majority of the ` {
experiments. The production of a suitable synthetic medium {
for these cultures has required considerable experimentation. S
The work of isolating and identifying various soil bacteria for T
use in these experiments is being; prosecuted. I
A series of comparative experiments was made upon the 1
nitrilication of ammonium sulfate, potassium cyanide and sodium 1
axid, by soil. It appeared that, while the ammonia salt wai I
nitritied, when used in suitable dilution. the cyanide was only