Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Environmental impact of fertilisers on agriculture

11.12.2002


The problem is intensive agriculture. Nowadays, some farmers have too many heads of cattle in comparison with their land under tillage. Due to this, purines (manure and stable/barn droppings) are applied in high concentrations on these soils, above all on those around the barns. Also, in order to feed the land which is further afield, farmers buy mineral feeds. Great problems for the environment arise out of the application of high quantities of mineral fertilisers and purines.




The Department of Vegetable Biology and Ecology have been studying this problem for 12 years now. The aim of the researchers is to measure the efficacy of fertilisers used in agriculture and to know their effect on the environment.

The importance of nitrogen


Nitrogen is the principal component in the majority of fertilisers used in agriculture. This is due to the property of this element of accelerating production and vegetable growth. But if it is applied excessively to the soil, plants are unable to absorb all the nitrogen and problems will arise. On the one hand gas emissions are produced and, on the other, water is contaminated.

Gas emissions are produced due to the activity of certain micro-organisms present in the land. Some of these gas emissions, for example nitrous oxide (N2O) and nitric oxide (NO2), can create serious environmental problems. The first is known to cause the greenhouse effect and, together with CO2, is an extremely dangerous compound and nitric oxide can produce acid rain.

Apart from gas emissions, water contamination has to be taken into account. When nitrogen appears in nitrate (NO3) form, it can enter rivers, lakes, and drinking water with the rain, giving rise to health problems in the case of drinking water. Moreover, in the case of contamination of rivers and lakes, it aids the eutrophisation of the water. Due to this eutrophisation, the growth of micro-organisms and aquatic plants is excessive and, consuming all the available oxygen in the water, fish life dies.

The research

Taking these problems into account, the researchers carried out a comparative study of purines and mineral fertilisers. It was clear from the results that the purines performed more slowly than the fertilisers, but that both are equally contaminant as regards gas emissions and ability to pollute water. Thus, it cannot be said that one is “better” than the other.

A second stage involved the analysis of the soil characteristics. A comparison between grazing pastures and fields under cultivation. From this study, it was clear that grazing pastures are more prone to gas emissions and, on the other hand, on cultivated land nitrate is more likely to reach and contaminate water.

Finally, the researchers are analysing the inhibitors of the micro-organisms which produce nitrates, nitrous oxide and nitric oxide. This is in order to have lower gas emissions and less nitrate in water. They are currently analysing the inhibitors to see if they also influence vegetable growth, measuring their capacity as inhibitors, and observing any change in crop production and measuring gas emissions.
There is still considerable research to be carried out.


Contact :
Garazi Andonegi
Elhuyar Fundazioa
garazi@elhuyar.com
(+34) 943363040

Garazi Andonegi | BasqueResearch
Further information:
http://www.ehu.es

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Energy crop production on conservation lands may not boost greenhouse gases
13.03.2017 | Penn State

nachricht How nature creates forest diversity
07.03.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

When Air is in Short Supply - Shedding light on plant stress reactions when oxygen runs short

23.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Researchers use light to remotely control curvature of plastics

23.03.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Sea ice extent sinks to record lows at both poles

23.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>