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
Upcycling of PET Bottles: New Ideas for Resource Cycles in Germany
25.06.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Betriebsfestigkeit und Systemzuverlässigkeit LBF
Dry landscapes can increase disease transmission
20.06.2018 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.
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...
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...
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...
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....
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...
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
16.07.2018 | Life Sciences
16.07.2018 | Earth Sciences
16.07.2018 | Physics and Astronomy