Thought YOU would like it, Russ. Glad you found the thread
Certainly I would like the idea to have merit, but all the more reason to be critical. Having watched the podcast and read the paper, there's not much to go on yet. Remarkable to me that the paper can get published without a description of what the claimed active substance actually is.
Putting aside overly dramatized language like "fossil soil" when what they mean is "coal" - in broad brush terms it sounds like their talking about something that would fall in the category of "quorum sensing." Unlike probiotics that provide the bugs, and prebiotics that feed the bugs, quorum sensing is like "the internet" for bugs - molecules that tell them to wake up and "talk" with each other and encourage each other to become active.
For general background, see this TED talk (one of my favorites ever)...https://www.ted.com/talks/bonnie_bassle ... ommunicate
...and for application to soil health see this company...http://www.quoruml.com
...which I know to be very effective.
Now maybe that's not it at all, but seems to fit with description of some compounds extractable from coal that become signaling molecules for microbes??? Can't really find much googling and find no other papers by Bush yet, so the other papers he said are in peer review aren't out yet (the one that is is just Aug 2016).
So although intrigued, I am suspicious until getting more info. Here we have a magic elixir extracted from coal and we won't tell you what it is, but believe us 3 guys who did the research as we've founded a company to sell this magic
Thoughts and Ideas from others?