Chemist uses natural soil components to trap pollutants
Using natural soil components to trap pollutants will allow producers to control soil contaminants and reuse draining water while protecting their agricultural crops, according to Mohamed Elsayed, a Fulbright Postdoctoral Scholar at South Dakota State University’s chemistry and biochemistry department.
Mohamed Elsayed, a Fulbright Postdoctoral Scholar at South Dakota State University’s chemistry and biochemistry department, uses ultrafiltration techniques to break humic acid down into smaller molecules that can then combine with clay minerals in the soil to trap pollutants.
Elsayed, a researcher from the Soil Water and Environmental Research Institute at the Agricultural Research Center in Egypt, will present his work at the American Chemical Society National Meeting March 22-26 in Denver.
If crops are sown in polluted soil, the plants absorb the contaminants, Elsayed explained. These are then transferred to humans when they consume the vegetables or grains.
Because of water shortages in Egypt, Elsayed said, “we need to use water again and again, but before we reuse it, we need to clean it.”
His research seeks to increase the ability of humic acid to adsorb or trap pollutants in combination with either of two clay minerals—kaolinite or montmorillonite. Humic acid is one of the major organic components in soil and is also used as fertilizer.
“The idea is to use natural materials to reduce the pollutants,” he explained. “Natural components are cheaper, more easily available.” Plus, artificial ingredients run the risk of adding to the pollution problems—natural ingredients don’t.
By breaking humic acid into smaller molecules, a process called fractionation, Elsayed hopes to improve the interaction between humic acid and clay minerals and, therefore, their ability to trap pollutants, particularly heavy metals. This project is a continuation of his doctoral research.
If fractionation produces good results, the next step will be to determine the optimum humic acid fractionation combination for each clay mineral to enhance the trapping process, Elsayed explained.
The long-range vision is for producers to apply humic acid, either in solid or liquid form, to enhance soil properties.
“These compounds would capture the heavy metals and organic pollutants so the plant won’t take it up,” he said. The resulting crop would be contaminant-free.
About South Dakota State University
Founded in 1881, South Dakota State University is the state’s Morrill Act land-grant institution as well as its largest, most comprehensive school of higher education. SDSU confers degrees from eight different colleges representing more than 175 majors, minors and specializations. The institution also offers 32 master’s degree programs, 15 Ph.D. and two professional programs. The work of the university is carried out on a residential campus in Brookings, at sites in Sioux Falls, Pierre and Rapid City, and through Cooperative Extension offices and Agricultural Experiment Station research sites across the state.
Christie Delfanian | newswise
New study shows producers where and how to grow cellulosic biofuel crops
17.01.2018 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
Robotic weeders: to a farm near you?
10.01.2018 | American Society of Agronomy
What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...
For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...
At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.
Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...
The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...
08.01.2018 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
17.01.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
17.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
17.01.2018 | Awards Funding