Scientists at the University of Plymouth have been developing methods to `close the loop` on waste and pollution, by finding waste products that can be used to improve soil / plant-growth conditions. At the Society for Experimental Biology conference in Swansea Dr Stuart Lane presented ways in which garden and industrial waste could be recycled to benefit the environment.
In collaboration with Ecological Sciences Limited, Dr Lane`s group investigated a horticultural growth substitute for peat, derived from garden waste products. Because the mining of peat bogs is both unsustainable and ecologically destructive, given that peat bogs take hundreds of years to form and provide a specialised habitat, horticulturalists are seeking to replace traditional methods based on peat with more environmentally friendly alternatives. The EcoSci research project headed by Stephen Bullock experimented with green waste derived compost (GWC) made up of garden waste (such as hedge trimmings and lawn clippings) collected from civic refuse sites. The waste was carefully composted and mixed with coir - coconut husks, another industrial waste product - and composted bark. The GWC was tested against a well-known peat-based commercial product for ten plant species and was found to out-perform the peat product in almost all the parameters tested. GWC is organically accredited and the company is now looking to develop an organic multi-purpose compost.
Dr Lane`s group also investigated a waste product of horticulture. Hydroponics - growing plants without soil - frequently uses rockwall, a loft insulation material that cannot be recycled. Dr Lane set up a hydroponics study where the rockwall was replaced with zeolite, a cystalline solid that acts like a molecular sieve and is used in industrial catalysts and in products such as washing powders. Zeolite effectively retains and exchanges ions, so can be used to `channel` nutrients to plant roots and retain toxic minerals. Dr Lane found that the zeolite provided a good growth medium, regulating minerals and aerating the roots properly, and could be re-used for a number of growth cycles. The group also investigated the safest way of disposing of the zeolite once its ion exchange capacity was spent, by mixing it into soil at concentrations where it would not interfere with the flow of beneficial minerals to plants or release high levels of harmful metals.
Jenny Gimpel | alphagalileo
A new indicator for marine ecosystem changes: the diatom/dinoflagellate index
21.08.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde
Value from wastewater
16.08.2017 | Hochschule Landshut
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
22.08.2017 | Health and Medicine
22.08.2017 | Materials Sciences
22.08.2017 | Life Sciences