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
Global farming trends threaten food security
11.07.2019 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
Scientists decode DNA secrets of world's toughest bean
09.07.2019 | University of California - Riverside
Scientists at the University Würzburg and University Hospital of Würzburg found that megakaryocytes act as “bouncers” and thus modulate bone marrow niche properties and cell migration dynamics. The study was published in July in the Journal “Haematologica”.
Hematopoiesis is the process of forming blood cells, which occurs predominantly in the bone marrow. The bone marrow produces all types of blood cells: red...
For some phenomena in quantum many-body physics several competing theories exist. But which of them describes a quantum phenomenon best? A team of researchers from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and Harvard University in the United States has now successfully deployed artificial neural networks for image analysis of quantum systems.
Is that a dog or a cat? Such a classification is a prime example of machine learning: artificial neural networks can be trained to analyze images by looking...
An international research group led by scientists from the University of Bayreuth has produced a previously unknown material: Rhenium nitride pernitride. Thanks to combining properties that were previously considered incompatible, it looks set to become highly attractive for technological applications. Indeed, it is a super-hard metallic conductor that can withstand extremely high pressures like a diamond. A process now developed in Bayreuth opens up the possibility of producing rhenium nitride pernitride and other technologically interesting materials in sufficiently large quantity for their properties characterisation. The new findings are presented in "Nature Communications".
The possibility of finding a compound that was metallically conductive, super-hard, and ultra-incompressible was long considered unlikely in science. It was...
An interdisciplinary research team at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has built platinum nanoparticles for catalysis in fuel cells: The new size-optimized catalysts are twice as good as the best process commercially available today.
Fuel cells may well replace batteries as the power source for electric cars. They consume hydrogen, a gas which could be produced for example using surplus...
The fly agaric with its red hat is perhaps the most evocative of the diverse and variously colored mushroom species. Hitherto, the purpose of these colors was...
24.06.2019 | Event News
29.04.2019 | Event News
17.04.2019 | Event News
17.07.2019 | Earth Sciences
17.07.2019 | Information Technology
17.07.2019 | Materials Sciences