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 Researchers discover natural product that could lead to new class of commercial herbicide
16.07.2018 | UCLA Samueli School of Engineering

nachricht Advance warning system via cell phone app: Avoiding extreme weather damage in agriculture
12.07.2018 | Leibniz-Zentrum für Agrarlandschaftsforschung (ZALF) e.V.

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: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Global study of world's beaches shows threat to protected areas

19.07.2018 | Earth Sciences

New creepy, crawly search and rescue robot developed at Ben-Gurion U

19.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Metal too 'gummy' to cut? Draw on it with a Sharpie or glue stick, science says

19.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>