Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Solving the Problem of Rampant Pollution from Corporate Farmers #Science

While the problem of excessive additives to the fields is primarily attributed to corporate farming, private farmers do it as well and the consequence is most lakes and waterways in the United States are heavily-polluted with nitrogen or phosphorus, the latter of which also frequently comes from detergent products used in America homes and the problem isn't that it kills things but rather it doesn't.  However, it does encourage algal blooms and those consume all the oxygen consequently killing things.

Researchers in the current context didn't ask what else can we add to the soil to make it more nutritive but rather they asked how does the communication between plants and the surrounding biome work so any type of additive can be administered effectively rather than abusively and destructively to the overall environment notwithstanding whatever it did within the local environment in the fields for that farm.

Plants have a finely balanced relationship with soil, depending on it for vital resources. Credit: Pexels

In recent years, human activity has more than doubled the amount of nitrogen entering the Earth's soil. And half of this additional nitrogen is wasted. But Professor Kronzucker says it doesn't have to be this way.

Plants that grow in areas with low or intermittent nitrogen availability produce exudates that can block or enhance soil nitrogen transformations to improve nitrogen take-up when soil nitrogen availability is low.  The conversation between plants and soil

The impact of corporate farming is obvious when the pollution doubles so quickly and it doesn't need a citation to prove the abusiveness of corporate endeavors.  Imbuing the corporate mindset with a conscience is impossible; however, they will respond if there's a dollar incentive even when a moral imperative does nothing.  Therefore, the research tries to determine if there's a less-expensive way and, consequently, a less-destructive way.

Professor Kronzucker first began studying how plant exudates interact with soil nitrogen chemistry in the forest trees of Canada. But he has since become more interested in the way this interaction works with the world's major crop plants.

Last year his group published their research into plant exudates from rice.
"Rice feeds three billion people, but it had not been investigated for its plant exudates," says Professor Kronzucker.

They found that all strains of rice they tested had exudates that could impact soil nitrogen.
"This is a paradigm shift. Wherever we look we find something," says Professor Kronzucker.

- PO

The interested student is strongly urged to review the source article but this is the conclusion.

"Since the onset of the green revolution in the 1960s we've seen phenomenal success in yield. But because fertilisers were so readily available, most cultivars were developed in systems with high nitrogen and high phosphorus, not under nutrient limitation.

"Now there is a shift towards cultivars that are nutrient efficient. In some parts of the planet farmers do this by necessity, they don't have a choice. In Africa it's typical to work in nutrient limited conditions."

Professor Kronzucker says that places like Africa is where the "nitrogen superstars" will be found.

- PO

The Rockhouse writes of the environment for your children and not mine since I have no children.  Heed it or not as you will but America is rapidly becoming the case study in failing to heed it, possibly second only to China for its slack enforcement of air pollution restrictions and the air is thick with smog due to automotive emissions and coal-burning power plants.

The White House plan for reinvigorating coal-fired energy plants in America is stupid, short-sighted, and will inevitably fail.  That aspect is trivial since the rest of the world is getting steadily less interested in whatever America does so long as the US isn't bombing their particular country at any given moment.

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