Can soil help remove antibiotics from wastewater effluent?

Antibiotics are finding their way into surface waters via wastewater effluent where they pose a threat to the environment and organisms including humans. Many wastewater treatment plants are not designed to remove antibiotics. This study explores the use of soil to reduce the amount of antibiotics that enter the environment.

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Phosphorous the disappearing nutrient

We better rethink our phosphorus use before we run out of it. Phosphorous is a vital nutrient for humans, animals, and plants and is heavily used as a fertiliser on agricultural fields. Our food production relies on deposits that will most likely run out of phosphorus within the next decades, with little prospects of alternatives. How will we be able to fertilise our crops in the future?

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Permafrost soils and carbon cycling

Permafrost soils make up 15 % of the global land cover and store more than 822 petagrams of carbon in their upper most three centimetres alone (the weight of 182,000,000,000 adult elephants). When comparing this with the annual carbon dioxide emissions of an average German citizen of approx. 2.4 tons C per year1 it becomes clear that we need to prevent these soil from breaking the masses of carbon within these soils. Warming of permafrost leads to the release of carbon, making them a source of the greenhouse gasses carbon dioxide and methane.

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Growing food with garbage – how fertilizing crops with food waste could solve the problem of finite landfill space

Much of the organic-rich waste (e.g. food scraps, yard waste) that ends up in landfills could be put to better use, like building soil fertility for crops. A recent study suggests that crops grown in soils that have been amended with a variety of landfill-destined organic waste products produce comparable yields to plants grown with conventional synthetic fertilizers.

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Rejuvenating Agricultural Soils

Soils play an important role in the global carbon cycle because they can absorb carbon from and emit carbon into the atmosphere. Currently, agricultural soils are not home to very large carbon pools. Recent research investigated the effects of adding carbonized crop residue to soils in agricultural environments in the hopes of finding ways to increase the amount of carbon retained by these soils.

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The long arm of invasive plants – how one invasive (Eleagnus umbellata, autumn olive) changes the soil microbial community

Invasive plants plague many parts of the US, from roadside environments to natural ecosystems. Research on one invasive plant, the autumn olive (Eleagnus umbellata), indicates that the soil microbial community changes based on proximity to the plant. Long-term changes in soil microbial communities might negatively impact restoration efforts.

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