Although controlled amounts of organic residues, sewage sludge and animal waste are a good choice for soil fertilisation, they can have damaging effects on soil biota when applied in excessive doses. In an effort to prevent these toxic impacts on soil, a team of researchers from the UAB’s Centre for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications (CREAF) has carried out a test that sets the maximum safe doses for organic fertilisers.
“We based this on bio-trials in the laboratory using soil-based organisms that are representative of agro-ecosystems, and which need to be protected: plants (Brassica rapa, Lolium perenne and Trifolium pratense), earthworms, annelids, collembola and micro-organisms,” the study’s lead author Xavier Domene told SINC.
The research, which has been published in the magazine Environmental Pollution, shows that the low levels of stability in the residues used is one of the main reasons for their damaging effects on plants and animals. “The rapid decomposition of the residue in the ground generates substances such as ammonia, which is the main cause of the toxic effects observed,” said Domene.
Finding a safe dose
The research group established a “safe dose” for each of the seven residues analysed (two kinds of dehydrated sewage sludge, two kinds of composted mud, two kinds of heat-dried mud, and one sample of heat-dried pig waste).
The researchers believe that using these residues in agricultural fields at levels below this cut-off limit would protect 95% of the species potentially present within an agro-ecosystem. The study goes on to explain that by comparing the safe dose with the amounts usually used it is possible to assess the potential impact on soil biota.
The European Union currently produces a great range of organic residues, using a variety of treatment technologies that minimise their volume and make them easier to handle. According to the researchers, “eco-toxicological criteria should also be included in legislation in order to prevent the environmental impact caused by the use of organic residues”.
SINC Team | alfa
Six-legged livestock -- sustainable food production
11.05.2017 | Faculty of Science - University of Copenhagen
Elephant Herpes: Super-Shedders Endanger Young Animals
04.05.2017 | Universität Zürich
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.
In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
17.05.2017 | Event News
24.05.2017 | Earth Sciences
24.05.2017 | Life Sciences
24.05.2017 | Life Sciences