Applied and Environmental Soil Science http://www.hindawi.com The latest articles from Hindawi Publishing Corporation © 2014 , Hindawi Publishing Corporation . All rights reserved. Characterization of Environmental Nano- and Macrocolloid Particles Extracted from Selected Soils and Biosolids Mon, 14 Apr 2014 09:28:04 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/aess/2014/506482/ Environmental nanoparticles found in soil systems and biosolids may pose a considerable risk to groundwater quality as contaminant carriers. Little effort has been invested in the characterization of natural nanocolloids compared to corresponding macrocolloids. This study involved physicochemical, mineralogical, and morphological characterizations of nanocolloids and macrocolloids fractionated from three Kentucky soils and one biosolid. Particle size and morphology were investigated using scanning/transmission electron microscopy and dynamic light scattering. Mineralogical composition was determined by X-ray diffraction and thermogravimetric and Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy analyses. Zeta potentials and cation exchange capacities assessed surface charge and chemical reactivity. The estimated average hydrodynamic diameter of nanoparticles was nearly twice the ideal 100 nm range, apparently due to irregular particle shapes and partial aggregation. Nanoparticles were also found attached to surfaces of macrocolloids, forming macro-nano aggregates and obscuring some of their physical and chemical characteristics. However, nanocolloids exhibited greater surface reactivity, likely due to their smaller size, poor crystallinity, and morphological shape distortions. In spite of some behavior modification due to nanoaggregation phenomena, nanocolloids appeared to be much more potent vectors of contaminant transport in subsurface environments than their macrosize fractions. Nevertheless, their heterogeneous nature brings to light important considerations in addressing pollution prevention and remediation challenges. J. L. Ghezzi, A. D. Karathanasis, C. J. Matocha, J. Unrine, and Y. L. Thompson Copyright © 2014 J. L. Ghezzi et al. All rights reserved. Using Capacitance Sensors for the Continuous Measurement of the Water Content in the Litter Layer of Forest Soil Thu, 03 Apr 2014 07:34:18 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/aess/2014/627129/ Little is known about the wetting and drying processes of the litter layer ( layer), likely because of technical difficulties inherent in nondestructive water content (WC) monitoring. We developed a method for continuously measuring the WC of leaf litter (the “LWC method”) in situ using capacitance sensors. To test variants of this approach, five (for the LWC_5) or ten (for the LWC_10 method) Quercus serrata leaves were attached around capacitance sensors. The output voltage used for each LWC method was linearly correlated with the gravimetric WC (LWC_5: ; LWC_10: ), producing different slopes for each calibration line. For in situ continuous measurements of WC in the layer, two sensors were used, one placed on top of the layer and the other at the boundary between the and mineral layers. The average continuous WC of the layer was then calculated from the output voltage of the two sensors and the calibration function, and this value was linearly correlated with the gravimetric WC . However, because the layer characteristics (e.g., thickness, water-holding capacity, and species composition) may differ among study sites, appropriate approaches for measuring this layer’s moisture properties may be needed. Mioko Ataka, Yuji Kominami, Takafumi Miyama, Kenichi Yoshimura, Mayuko Jomura, and Makoto Tani Copyright © 2014 Mioko Ataka et al. All rights reserved. Soil Assessment along Toposequences in Rural Northern Nigeria: A Geomedical Approach Thu, 27 Mar 2014 11:29:06 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/aess/2014/628024/ Case numbers of endemic Ca-deficiency rickets (CDR) have been reported to be alarmingly rising among children of subsistence farms in developing countries within the last 30 years. Fluoride toxicities in the environment are known to not be related to the disease. To investigate if, instead, CDR is caused by a nutrient deficiency in the environment, subsistence farms in an endemic CDR area near Kaduna, northern Nigeria, were investigated for bedrock, slope forms, soil types, and soil characteristics. The natural environment was investigated according to the World Reference Base, soil texture was analysed by pipette and sieving, and plant-available macronutrients were determined using barium-chloride or Ca-acetate-lactate extraction. The analyses showed that granite and slope deposits were the dominant parent materials. The typical slope forms and soil types were Lixisols and Acrisols on pediments, Fluvisols in river valleys, and Plinthosols and Acrisols on plains. Compared with West African background values, all of the soils had normal soil textures but were low in macronutrients. Comparisons to critical limits, however, showed that only the P concentrations were critically low, which are typical for savanna soils. A link between nutrient deficiency in soils and CDR in the Kaduna area was therefore considered unlikely. Lena Hartmann, Marvin Gabriel, Yuanrong Zhou, Barbara Sponholz, and Heinrich Thiemeyer Copyright © 2014 Lena Hartmann et al. All rights reserved. Biosolids Soil Application: Agronomic and Environmental Implications 2013 Sun, 16 Mar 2014 09:38:53 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/aess/2014/314730/ Silvana I. Torri, Rodrigo Studart Corrêa, Giancarlo Renella, Leonid Perelomov, and Alejandro Valdecantos Copyright © 2014 Silvana I. Torri et al. All rights reserved. County-Scale Spatial Variability of Macronutrient Availability Ratios in Paddy Soils Tue, 11 Mar 2014 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/aess/2014/689482/ Macronutrients (N, P, and K) are essential to plants but also can be harmful to the environment when their available concentrations in soil are excessive. Availability ratios (available concentration/total concentration) of macronutrients may reflect their transforming potential between fixed and available forms in soil. Understanding their spatial distributions and impact factors can be, therefore, helpful to applying specific measures to modify the availability of macronutrients for agricultural and environmental management purposes. In this study, 636 topsoil samples (0–15 cm) were collected from paddy fields in Shayang County, Central China, for measuring soil properties. Factors influencing macronutrient availability ratios were investigated, and total and available concentrations of macronutrients were mapped using geostatistical method. Spatial distribution maps of macronutrient availability ratios were further derived. Results show that (1) availability of macronutrients is controlled by multiple factors, and (2) macronutrient availability ratios are spatially varied and may not always have spatial patterns identical to those of their corresponding total and available concentrations. These results are more useful than traditional soil macronutrient average content data for guiding site-specific field management for agricultural production and environmental protection. Mingkai Qu, Weidong Li, and Chuanrong Zhang Copyright © 2014 Mingkai Qu et al. All rights reserved. The Solid Phase Distribution and Bioaccessibility of Arsenic, Chromium, and Nickel in Natural Ironstone Soils in the UK Wed, 05 Mar 2014 13:31:23 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/aess/2014/924891/ Thirty soil samples (12 residential gardens and 18 allotments) were collected from the Cherwell District of north Oxfordshire in south-central England. The underlying parent geology of the area is dominated by Jurassic ironstone. The samples were analysed for their total contents of As, Cr, and Ni by X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy and for the bioaccessible fractions of these elements using a physiologically based extraction test. Four soils (two residential soils and two allotment soils) were chosen for further determination of their element solid phase distribution. The study showed that whilst total concentrations of As, Cr, and Ni are elevated due to the soil parent material, the bioaccessibility test showed that only a small proportion of the total concentration is available for absorption into the human body (<15%). The sequential extraction test showed that the nonmobile forms of the elements are strongly sorbed on to iron oxides. Parent material geology has a significant effect on the total element concentrations and the bioaccessibility of potentially harmful element (PHE). Land use does not show such a large effect but the allotment bioaccessibility data show a bigger spread and possibly higher values for As and Cr which may be due to agronomic (cultivation) practices such as addition of fertilisers and organic matter. Joanna Wragg, Mark Cave, and Sean Gregory Copyright © 2014 Joanna Wragg et al. All rights reserved. Soil Management for Sustainable Agriculture 2013 Wed, 26 Feb 2014 09:25:27 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/aess/2014/536825/ Philip J. White, John W. Crawford, María Cruz Díaz Álvarez, and Rosario García Moreno Copyright © 2014 Philip J. White et al. All rights reserved. The Effect of Trichoderma on Heavy Metal Mobility and Uptake by Miscanthus giganteus, Salix sp., Phalaris arundinacea, and Panicum virgatum Sun, 09 Feb 2014 07:00:41 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/aess/2014/506142/ The effect of land application of biomaterials based on two strains of Trichoderma fungus on phytoremediation processes was studied. Six metals (Cd, Cr, Cu, Pb, Zn, and Ni) were analysed in soil and soil leachate as well as in plant tissues. The translocation index () and metal bioconcentration factors (BCF) calculated for the inoculated plants were increased compared to the noninoculated control, except for Pb and Salix sp. Simultaneously, the mobilisation of metals in soil solution as an effect of biomaterials was noted. The highest values of —339% (for Cr), 190% (for Ni), and 110% (for Cu)—were achieved for the combination Miscanteus giganteus and Trichoderma MSO1. The results indicated that the application of fungus has positive effects on increasing the biomass, soil parameters (C, N, and P), and solubility of heavy metals in soil and therefore in enhancing phytoextraction for Miscanthus giganteus L., Panicum virgatum L., Phalaris arundinacea L., and Salix sp. Malgorzata J. Kacprzak, Karolina Rosikon, Krzysztof Fijalkowski, and Anna Grobelak Copyright © 2014 Malgorzata J. Kacprzak et al. All rights reserved. Novel Castellaniella denitrificans SA13P as a Potent Malachite Green Decolorizing Strain Thu, 06 Feb 2014 13:38:01 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/aess/2014/760950/ Triphenylmethane dyes represent a major group of dyes causing serious environmental hazards. Malachite Green is one of the commonly and extensively used triphenylmethane dyes although it is carcinogenic and mutagenic in nature. Various physicochemical methods have been employed for its elimination but are highly expensive, coupled with the formation of huge amount of sludge. Hence, biological methods being ecofriendly are good alternatives. In the present study, the novel bacterial isolate SA13P was isolated from UASB tank of tannery effluent treatment plant. Phylogenetic characterization of 1470 bp fragment of SA13P has revealed its similarity with Castellaniella denitrificans. This strain has been found to decolorize the dye (malachite green) at a concentration of 100 mg L−1 (80.29%). Decolorization was done by living bacterial cells rather than adsorption. Growth conditions have also been optimized for the decolorization. Maximum decolorization was observed at a temperature of 37°C and pH 8.0. Also, it has been found that bacterization of seeds of Vigna radiata with Castellaniella denitrificans SA13P increases germination rate. We have reported for the first time that Castellaniella denitrificans SA13P may be used as a novel strain for dye decolorization (malachite green) and biological treatment of tannery effluent. Ankita Chawla and Baljeet Singh Saharan Copyright © 2014 Ankita Chawla and Baljeet Singh Saharan. All rights reserved. The Sloping Mire Soil-Landscape of Southern Ecuador: Influence of Predictor Resolution and Model Tuning on Random Forest Predictions Wed, 05 Feb 2014 13:27:47 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/aess/2014/603132/ The sloping mire landscape of the investigation area, in the southern Andes of Ecuador, is dominated by stagnic soils with thick organic layers. The recursive partitioning algorithm Random Forest was used to predict the spatial water stagnation pattern and the thickness of the organic layer from terrain attributes. Terrain smoothing from 10 to 30 m raster resolution was applied in order to obtain the best possible model. For the same purpose, several model tuning parameters were tested and a prepredictor selection with the R-package Boruta was applied. Model versions were evaluated and compared by 100 repetitions of the calculation of the residual mean square error of a five-fold cross-validation. Position specific density functions of the predicted soil parameters were then used to display prediction uncertainty. Prepredictor selection and tuning of the Random Forest algorithm in some cases resulted in an improved model performance. We therefore recommend testing prepredictor selection and tuning to make sure that the best possible model is chosen. This needs particular emphasis in complex tropical mountain soil-landscapes which provide a real challenge to any soil mapping approach but where Random Forest has proven to be successful due to the testing of model tuning and prepredictor selection. Mareike Ließ, Martin Hitziger, and Bernd Huwe Copyright © 2014 Mareike Ließ et al. All rights reserved. Soil Quality Assessment Strategies for Evaluating Soil Degradation in Northern Ethiopia Tue, 04 Feb 2014 14:11:56 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/aess/2014/646502/ Soil quality (SQ) degradation continues to challenge sustainable development throughout the world. One reason is that degradation indicators such as soil quality index (SQI) are neither well documented nor used to evaluate current land use and soil management systems (LUSMS). The objective was to assess and identify an effective SQ indicator dataset from among 25 soil measurements, appropriate scoring functions for each indicator and an efficient SQ indexing method to evaluate soil degradation across the LUSMS in the Mai-Negus catchment of northern Ethiopia. Eight LUSMS selected for soil sampling and analysis included (i) natural forest (LS1), (ii) plantation of protected area, (iii) grazed land, (iv) teff (Eragrostis tef)-faba bean (Vicia faba) rotation, (v) teff-wheat (Triticum vulgare)/barley (Hordeum vulgare) rotation, (vi) teff monocropping, (vii) maize (Zea mays) monocropping, and (viii) uncultivated marginal land (LS8). Four principal components explained almost 88% of the variability among the LUSMS. LS1 had the highest mean SQI (0.931) using the scoring functions and principal component analysis (PCA) dataset selection, while the lowest SQI (0.458) was measured for LS8. Mean SQI values for LS1 and LS8 using expert opinion dataset selection method were 0.874 and 0.406, respectively. Finally, a sensitivity analysis (S) used to compare PCA and expert opinion dataset selection procedures for various scoring functions ranged from 1.70 for unscreened-SQI to 2.63 for PCA-SQI. Therefore, this study concludes that a PCA-based SQI would be the best way to distinguish among LUSMS since it appears more sensitive to disturbances and management practices and could thus help prevent further SQ degradation. Gebreyesus Brhane Tesfahunegn Copyright © 2014 Gebreyesus Brhane Tesfahunegn. All rights reserved. Sediment, Nutrient, and Bacterial Runoff from Biosolids and Mineral Fertilizer Applied to a Mixed Cool- and Native Warm-Season Grassland in the Ozark Mountains Wed, 29 Jan 2014 08:51:41 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/aess/2014/147818/ Rainfall simulations were conducted within mixed (cool- and native warm-season) grasslands in the sloping, rocky soils typical of the Ozark Mountains region to estimate nutrient and bacteria levels in runoff from biosolids and mineral fertilizer (MF). The ability of narrow (1 m) vegetated filter strips (VFS) to reduce losses was evaluated. Experiment 1 included an untreated control (C); 37 kg plant available nitrogen (PAN) ha−1 from biosolids applied to the upslope half of the plot with the downslope half serving as a VFS (LBF); 74 kg PAN ha−1 from biosolids, with VFS (HBF); and a uniform biosolids application at the lower rate and no VFS (LBU). Experiment 2 examined runoff from MF applied at 89 kg ammoniacal nitrogen (NH4-N) ha−1 and 147 kg phosphorous (P) ha−1 over the whole plot (MFW) or only on the upslope half (with VFS) (MFF). No significant differences were detected among mean fecal coliform levels despite large differences in magnitude. Losses of NH4-N and P were greater for LBU than for LBF. Although only marginally significant (), total phosphorous contained in runoff was nearly three times higher in MFW than in MFF. Results of this study suggest that even a small VFS can potentially reduce nutrient levels in runoff. Cody B. Wallace, Michael G. Burton, Steven G. Hefner, and Thomas A. DeWitt Copyright © 2014 Cody B. Wallace et al. All rights reserved. Clay and Soil Photolysis of the Pesticides Mesotrione and Metsulfuron Methyl Wed, 29 Jan 2014 00:00:00 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/aess/2014/369037/ Photolysis may represent an important degradation process of pollutants at the surface of soil. In the present work, we report a detailed study on the degradation of two pesticides: mesotrione and metsulfuron methyl using a sunlight simulator. In a first step, we studied the photochemical behaviour at the surface of clays from the kinetic as well as from the analytical point of view. In both cases, the quantum yields were found to be higher when compared to those obtained in aqueous solutions. The effect of iron(III), water, and humic substances contents was studied. In the former cases, an increase of the degradation rate was observed while an inhibition was observed with the latter owing to a filter effect phenomenon. In a second step, we studied the photodegradation at the surface of natural soil and identified the generated byproducts. They appear to mainly arise from photohydrolysis process. Marie Siampiringue, Pascal Wong Wah Chung, Moursalou Koriko, Gado Tchangbedji, and Mohamed Sarakha Copyright © 2014 Marie Siampiringue et al. All rights reserved. Soil Phosphorus Dynamics of Wheat-Based Cropping Systems in the Semiarid Region of Argentina Thu, 23 Jan 2014 07:57:32 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/aess/2014/532807/ The dynamics of soil P forms and particle size fractions was studied under three wheat-based cropping sequences in production systems of Argentina. The whole soil and its coarse (100–2000 µm) and fine (0–100 µm) fractions were analyzed to determine Bray-Kurtz extractable (Pe), organic (Po), inorganic (Pi), and total (Pte) phosphorus. The reference soil was determined at time 0 and compared to a four-year period (time 9 to 12) in three crop sequences: wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)-cattle grazing on natural grasses (WG), continuous wheat (WW), and wheat-legume (WL). Levels of Pe showed differences over time, from 10 to 16 µg g−1 in WG, in line with agriculture and cattle grazing alternate sequences. In WW, P level increased with time, while in WL systems a significant decrease in P from 33.7 to 10.4 µg P g−1 was found during the legume period. Soil P values varied between reference soil and soil samples in year nine and between treatments. Pi was significantly lower in WW, and its concentration increased with time. The coarse fraction of the reference plots had significantly higher levels of Po and Pi than the cultivated treatments, probably a consequence of the particulate organic matter decomposition and coarse mineral particle weathering. The observed changes in Pi content could be attributed to differences in occluded P equilibrium under different soil environments (mainly pH) and crop-tillage-climatic interaction. Liliana Suñer, Juan Galantini, and Gabriela Minoldo Copyright © 2014 Liliana Suñer et al. All rights reserved. Silvopastoral Systems Enhance Soil Quality in Grasslands of Colombia Wed, 22 Jan 2014 14:34:26 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/aess/2014/359736/ In the tropical drylands of Colombia, the soils subjected to traditional systems of livestock production are severely degraded and depleted of plant nutrients. Multistrata silvopastoral systems are viable alternatives to improve livestock production; however, it is unknown whether these systems can reduce the negative environmental impacts of traditional systems on soil quality. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of 13-year-old multistrata silvopastoral systems on soil quality parameters in degraded soils of the Sinu River Valley, Colombia. The results show that the trees in the silvopastoral systems increased or maintained soil pH values and nutrient availability (phosphorus, potassium, and calcium) with respect to the pastures with only grasses. The effects were significantly controlled by the types of plant species, particularly Guazuma ulmifolia and Cassia grandis. Judith Martínez, Yasmín S. Cajas, Juan D. León, and Nelson W. Osorio Copyright © 2014 Judith Martínez et al. All rights reserved. Soil Carbon Sequestration Resulting from Biosolids Application Mon, 20 Jan 2014 06:50:58 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/aess/2014/821768/ Carbon (C) sequestration in soils through the increase of the soil organic carbon (SOC) pool has generated broad interest to mitigate the effects of climate change. Biosolids soil application may represent a persistent increase in the SOC pool. While a vast literature is available on the value of biosolids as a soil conditioner or nutrient source in agricultural systems, there is still limited knowledge on soil sequestration mechanisms of biosolids-borne C or the main factors influencing this capacity. The emerging challenges posed by global environmental changes and the stringent needs to enhance C storage call for more research on the potential of soil biosolids incorporation as a sustainable C storage practice. This review addresses the potential of C sequestration of agricultural soils and opencast mines amended with biosolids and its biological regulation. Silvana I. Torri, Rodrigo Studart Corrêa, and Giancarlo Renella Copyright © 2014 Silvana I. Torri et al. All rights reserved. Managing the Selenium Content in Soils in Semiarid Environments through the Recycling of Organic Matter Sun, 29 Dec 2013 11:35:14 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/aess/2013/283468/ Around 30% of the world’s population suffers from either a lack of one or more essential micronutrients, or the overconsumption of these minerals, which causes toxicity. Selenium (Se) is a particularly important micronutrient component of the diet with a well-documented and wide-ranging role in maintaining health. However, this important micronutrient can be lacking because soil and crop management are focused on high yields to the detriment of the quality of crops required to ensure a healthy human diet. Currently around 15% of the global population has selenium deficiency. This paper focuses on Se availability in semiarid soils and how micronutrients can be effectively managed through the recycling of organic matter. Because many mineral reserves are being exploited unsustainably, we review the advantages of using organic by-products for the management of the biofortification of Se in crops. This type of practice is particularly useful in arid and semiarid environments because organic matter acts as a reservoir for Se, preventing bioaccumulation and leaching. There are also potential local economic benefits from using organic by-products, such as manures and sewage sludge. R. Garcia Moreno, R. Burdock, María Cruz Díaz Álvarez, and J. W. Crawford Copyright © 2013 R. Garcia Moreno et al. All rights reserved. Nitrogen Release in Pristine and Drained Peat Profiles in Response to Water Table Fluctuations: A Mesocosm Experiment Sun, 22 Dec 2013 10:05:41 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/aess/2013/694368/ In the northern hemisphere, variability in hydrological conditions was suggested to increase as a consequence of climate warming, which may result in longer droughts than the area has experienced before. Due to their predominately anoxic conditions, peatlands are expected to respond to changes in hydrological conditions, such as successive drying and rewetting periods. As peatlands are rich in organic matter, any major changes in water table may influence the decomposition of it. The hydrological conditions may also influence release of nutrients from peat profiles as well as affect their transport to downstream ecosystems. In our mesocosm experiment, artificial water table fluctuations in pristine peat profiles caused an increase in dissolved organic nitrogen (DON) and ammonium concentrations, while no response was found in drained peat profiles, although originating from the same peatland complex. Merjo P. P. Laine, Rauni Strömmer, and Lauri Arvola Copyright © 2013 Merjo P. P. Laine et al. All rights reserved. Nickel in Soil Modifies Sensitivity to Diazinon Measured by the Activity of Acetylcholinesterase, Catalase, and Glutathione S-Transferase in Earthworm Eisenia fetida Thu, 14 Nov 2013 15:05:02 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/aess/2013/642098/ Nickel in typical soils is present in a very low concentration, but in the contaminated soils it occurs in locally elevated concentrations. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of nickel in the concentrations of 300 (very high, close to LOEC for reproduction) and 900 (extremely high, close to LOEC for mortality) mg/kg dry soil on the life history and acetylcholinesterase, catalase, and glutathione S-transferase activities in earthworm Eisenia fetida and to establish how nickel modifies the sensitivity to organophosphorous pesticide—diazinon. Cocoons production and juveniles’ number were significantly lower only in groups exposed to Ni in the concentration of 900 mg/kg dry soil for two months. Diazinon administration diminished the AChE activity in the GI tract and in the body wall. The interaction between diazinon and nickel was observed, and, in consequence, the AChE activity after the pesticide treatment was similar to controls in worms preexposed to nickel. Both pesticide administration and exposure to nickel caused an increase in the GST activity in examined organs and CAT activity in body wall. Both biometric and development data and simple enzymatic analysis, especially the AChE and GST, show a Ni pretreatment effect on the subsequent susceptibility to pesticide. Agnieszka Zawisza-Raszka and Bogdan Dolezych Copyright © 2013 Agnieszka Zawisza-Raszka and Bogdan Dolezych. All rights reserved. Characterisation of Organomineral Fertilisers Derived from Nutrient-Enriched Biosolids Granules Mon, 11 Nov 2013 13:49:31 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/aess/2013/694597/ Organomineral fertilisers (OMFs) were produced by coating biosolids granules with urea and potash. Two OMF formulations with N : P2O5 : K2O compositions: 10 : 4 : 4 (OMF10) and 15 : 4 : 4 (OMF15) were developed for application in grassland and arable crops. Routine fertiliser analyses were conducted on four batches of OMF and biosolids granules and compared with a sample of urea to determine key physical and chemical properties of the materials which affect handling and spreading, soil behaviour, and fertiliser value. Bulk and particle densities were in the range of 608 to 618 kg m−3, and 1297 to 1357 kg m−3, respectively. Compression tests showed that OMF particles undergo deformation followed by multiple failures without disintegration of the granules when vertical load was applied. Static particle strength was between 1.18 and 4.33 N mm−2 depending on the particle diameter. The use of a model for fertiliser particle distribution studies showed that OMF granules should be between 1.10 and 5.50 mm in diameter with about 80% of the particles in the range of 2.25 to 4.40 mm to enable application at 18 m tramline spacing. This research utilises novel technology to improve the fertiliser value of biosolids, reduce disposal costs, and deliver a range of environmental benefits associated with recycling. Diogenes L. Antille, Ruben Sakrabani, Sean F. Tyrrel, Minh S. Le, and Richard J. Godwin Copyright © 2013 Diogenes L. Antille et al. All rights reserved. Is Ridge Cultivation Sustainable? A Case Study from the Haean Catchment, South Korea Sun, 10 Nov 2013 10:13:31 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/aess/2013/679467/ Non-sustainable agricultural practices can alter the quality of soil and water. A sustainable soil management requires detailed understanding of how tillage affects soil quality, erosion, and leaching processes. Agricultural soils in the Haean catchment (South Korea) are susceptible to erosion by water during the monsoon. For years, erosion-induced losses have been compensated by spreading allochthonous sandy material on the fields. These anthropogenically modified soils are used for vegetable production, and crops are cultivated in ridges using plastic mulches. To evaluate whether the current practice of ridge cultivation is sustainable with regard to soil quality and soil and water conservation, we (i) analysed soil properties of topsoils and (ii) carried out dye tracer experiments. Our results show that the sandy topsoils have a very low soil organic matter content and a poor structure and lack soil burrowers. The artificial layering induced by spreading sandy material supported lateral downhill water flow. Ridge tillage and plastic mulching strongly increased surface runoff and soil erosion. We conclude that for this region a comprehensive management plan, which aims at long-term sustainable agriculture by protecting topsoils, increasing soil organic matter, and minimizing runoff and soil erosion, is mandatory for the future. Marianne Ruidisch, Sebastian Arnhold, Bernd Huwe, and Christina Bogner Copyright © 2013 Marianne Ruidisch et al. All rights reserved. Uptake of Sulfadiazine Sulfonamide from Water by Clinoptilolite Thu, 31 Oct 2013 15:25:22 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/aess/2013/648697/ The interactions between sulfadiazine (SDZ), a sulfonamide antibiotic, and clinoptilolite, a hydrophilic zeolite, were investigated under batch experimental conditions. The uptake of SDZ on the zeolite followed a linear sorption isotherm under neutral pH conditions. Higher SDZ uptake on the zeolite was observed when solution pH was below the or above the values of SDZ, while minimal SDZ uptake was observed when the solution pH was between the and values of SDZ. These observations suggested that hydrophobic interaction between SDZ and the zeolite was minimal due to the hydrophilic nature of the substrate. Electrostatic interactions and ion bridging were attributed to the elevated SDZ uptake under low and high pH conditions. As SDZ had a low value, the hydrophilic nature of the substrate prevented extensive uptake of SDZ, which could contribute to its extensive detection in the environment, including surface water and wastewater. Zhaohui Li, Christie Stockwell, Jacqueline Niles, Skylar Minegar, and Hanlie Hong Copyright © 2013 Zhaohui Li et al. All rights reserved. Phytoremediation of Lead Polluted Soil by Glycine max L. Wed, 30 Oct 2013 13:23:57 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/aess/2013/631619/ A study was designed to assess the phytoextraction potential of Glycine max L. for lead (Pb). Pots experiment was conducted. Viable seeds were planted in 5 kg of soil placed in each plastic pot having 0 ppm (control), 5 ppm, 10 ppm, 15 ppm, 20 ppm and 25 ppm of Pb respectively. The study was carried out for a period of 12 weeks under natural conditions. Physicochemical properties of the soil were determined using standard methods. The results revealed that pH, phosphorous and moisture contents increased while nitrogen and organic carbon contents decreased in polluted soil remediated with Glycine max L. compared to the unpolluted soil. Leaf, stem, seeds and roots of the plant were analyzed for Pb uptake after 12 weeks. The plants mopped up substantial concentration of Pb in the above plant biomass of the seeds (4.2 mg/kg), stem (1.37 mg/kg) and leaves (3.37 mg/kg) compared to concentrations in the roots (1.53 mg/kg). The phytoextraction ability of the plant was assessed in terms of its bioconcentration factor (BCF) and translocation factor (TF). It was observed that the levels of Pb in the roots and shoots after 12 weeks showed that more bioavailable pool of Pb was translocated from the root to seeds, leaves and stem in that order. The results obtained suggest that the plant has phytoextraction ability and could be used in restoring soil polluted with Pb. Sesan Abiodun Aransiola, Udeme Joshua Josiah Ijah, and Olabisi Peter Abioye Copyright © 2013 Sesan Abiodun Aransiola et al. All rights reserved. Field-Scale Evaluation of Biosolids-Derived Organomineral Fertilisers Applied to Ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) in England Tue, 29 Oct 2013 18:14:17 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/aess/2013/960629/ A field-scale experiment was conducted to compare the suitability of two organomineral fertiliser (OMF) formulations (OMF10—10 : 4 : 4 and OMF15—15 : 4 : 4) with urea and biosolids granules applied to perennial ryegrass. Results showed a 25% to 30% increase in dry matter yield (DMY) with application of OMF compared with biosolids granules but about 5% lower than urea. For OMF, an average input of yielded which was similar to that of urea; whereas, for biosolids, a yield of required an input of but DMY was lower (). Agronomic efficiencies with OMF were in the range of 26 to 35 kg , approximately double those of biosolids but about 5% to 10% lower than urea. Soil extractable P levels remained close to constant; therefore, soil P Index was not affected by OMF application. This result supported the reasons for the proposed OMF formulations and demonstrated the advantage of the products compared with biosolids which induced an increase (), in soil extractable P. The application of OMF at rates which do not exceed the optimum N rate for the grass crop should not induce significant changes in soil P Index including application to soils with satisfactory P levels. OMF application strategies are discussed which will enable minimising environmental concerns and maximising fertiliser use efficiency. Diogenes L. Antille, Ruben Sakrabani, and Richard J. Godwin Copyright © 2013 Diogenes L. Antille et al. All rights reserved. Availability and Plant Uptake of Biosolid-Borne Metals Thu, 24 Oct 2013 16:03:55 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/aess/2013/892036/ Metal uptake by different plant species was quantified in sand media amended with biosolids in a sand-culture hydroponic medium. In a previous paper (Koo et al. 2006), we concluded that total quantities of organic acids were greatest in treatments containing both plants and biosolids, with lesser amounts in treatments with plants alone, biosolids-treated media alone, and a nutrient solution-irrigated blank medium. Biosolids enhanced organic acid production in the rhizosphere. The purpose of this study was to evaluate how organic acids in root exudates affect the absorption of metals by selected plants. We found that the concentrations of metals in the plant tissue grown on biosolids-treated medium were always higher than that from the standard medium, irrespective of species and cultivar. The amount of metal transferred from the biosolids-treated medium to the plant varied with the metal element, following the order: Cd > Ni = Zn > Cu > Pb > Cr. Interspecies and cultivar differences in metal uptake were trivial compared to differences induced by the treatment. The metal uptake decreased with the growth period, and the kinetics of metal uptake, as indicated by accumulation in corn shoots, were essentially a first order during the initial 4 weeks of growth, especially for Cd and Zn. Bon-Jun Koo, Andrew C. Chang, David E. Crowley, Al L. Page, and Alexandria Taylor Copyright © 2013 Bon-Jun Koo et al. All rights reserved. Effects of Vegetation Type and Management Practice on Soil Respiration of Grassland in Northern Japan Thu, 24 Oct 2013 09:16:53 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/aess/2013/624013/ Soil respiration rate in two types of grassland dominated with Zoysia japonica and Miscanthus sinensis, respectively, and under two management practices (undisturbed and intentionally burned) for the M. sinensis grassland was investigated for understanding the effects of grassland vegetation type and management practices on the relationship between soil temperature and soil respiration in northern Japan. Soil temperatures at depth of 1 cm in the Z. japonica (ZJ) and burned M. sinensis (MSb) plots had a larger temporal variation than that in the control M. sinensis (MSc) plot prior to early July. However, the coefficient of temperature sensitivity () values, based on soil respiration rates and soil temperatures at 5 cm depth in the ZJ and MSb plots, were 1.3 and 2.9. These rates were lower than that in the MSc plot (4.3), meaning that soil respiration showed lower activity to an increase in soil temperature in the ZJ and MSb plots. In addition, monthly carbon fluxes from soil in these plots were smaller than that in the MSc plot. These results suggested that artificial disturbance would decrease soil microbial or/and plant root respiration, and it would contribute to the plant productivity. Future studies should examine the effects of the intensity and period of management on the soil respiration rate. Minaco Adachi and Satoshi Tsuda Copyright © 2013 Minaco Adachi and Satoshi Tsuda. All rights reserved. Soil-Landscape Modeling and Remote Sensing to Provide Spatial Representation of Soil Attributes for an Ethiopian Watershed Wed, 23 Oct 2013 13:43:37 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/aess/2013/798094/ Information about the spatial distribution of soil properties is necessary for natural resources modeling; however, the cost of soil surveys limits the development of high-resolution soil maps. The objective of this study was to provide an approach for predicting soil attributes. Topographic attributes and the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) were used to provide information about the spatial distribution of soil properties using clustering and statistical techniques for the 56 km2 Gumara-Maksegnit watershed in Ethiopia. Multiple linear regression models implemented within classified subwatersheds explained 6–85% of the variations in soil depth, texture, organic matter, bulk density, pH, total nitrogen, available phosphorous, and stone content. The prediction model was favorably comparable with the interpolation using the inverse distance weighted algorithm. The use of satellite images improved the prediction. The soil depth prediction accuracy dropped gradually from 98% when 180 field observations were used to 65% using only 25 field observations. Soil attributes were predicted with acceptable accuracy even with a low density of observations (1-2 observations/2 km2). This is because the model utilizes topographic and satellite data to support the statistical prediction of soil properties between two observations. Hence, the use of DEM and remote sensing with minimum field data provides an alternative source of spatially continuous soil attributes. Nurhussen Mehammednur Seid, Birru Yitaferu, Kibebew Kibret, and Feras Ziadat Copyright © 2013 Nurhussen Mehammednur Seid et al. All rights reserved. Nursery Growing Media: Agronomic and Environmental Quality Assessment of Sewage Sludge-Based Compost Mon, 21 Oct 2013 13:56:22 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/aess/2013/565139/ There is a stringent need to reduce the environmental impact of peat in the plant nursery production chain. In this experiment, the use of different rates of sewage sludge compost in the preparation of growing media for potted Bougainvillea was evaluated to assess its efficiency for the replacement of peat and to quantify the environmental impact of such alternative substrates by the life cycle assessment (LCA) method. Five substrates containing increasing proportion of composted sewage sludge to peat (0%, 25%, 40%, 55%, and 70% v/v) were used, and their physicochemical properties were measured. Bougainvillea plant growth, biomass production, and macro- and micronutrient absorption were also determined. The main results were that compost addition improved the plant nutrient and increased the substrate pH, electrical conductivity (EC), and dry bulk density values. Globally, the results showed that compost could be used at up to 55% by volume with no negative effects on plant growth. The LCA showed that use of compost reduced the environmental loads of the growth media, except the Global Warming Potential value (GWP100). Environmental implications of the use of compost in the plant nursery chain are discussed. Barbara De Lucia, Giuseppe Cristiano, Lorenzo Vecchietti, Elvira Rea, and Giovanni Russo Copyright © 2013 Barbara De Lucia et al. All rights reserved. Establishment of Native Grasses with Biosolids on Abandoned Croplands in Chihuahua, Mexico Sun, 13 Oct 2013 16:02:16 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/aess/2013/573808/ The objective of the work was to evaluate establishment and forage production of native grasses with application of biosolids, a byproduct of waste-water treatment, at an abandoned field, in Ejido Nuevo Delicias, Chihuahua, Mexico. Four biosolids rates from 0 (control) to 30 dry Mg ha−1 and two methods of application, surface applied (BioSur) and soil incorporated (BioInc), were evaluated. Seedbed preparation included plowing and harrowing before rainfall. Field plots of 5 × 5 m were manually sown with a mix of blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis) (50%) and green sprangletop (Leptochloa dubia) (50%) in early August 2005. Experimental design was a randomized block with a split plot arrangement. Grass density, height, and forage production were estimated for three years. Data were analyzed with mixed linear models and repeated measures. Green sprangletop density increased under all biosolids rates regardless of method of application, while blue grama density slightly decreased. Biosolids were more beneficial for green sprangletop height than for blue grama height. Blue grama forage production slightly increased, while green sprangletop forage production increased the most at 10 Mg ha−1 biosolids rate under BioSur method. It was concluded that BioSur application at 10 and 20 Mg ha−1 rates had positive effects on the establishment and forage production of native grasses, especially green sprangletop. Pedro Jurado-Guerra, J. Santos Sierra-Tristán, Carlos Lara-Macias, Ruben Saucedo-Teran, and Carlos Morales-Nieto Copyright © 2013 Pedro Jurado-Guerra et al. All rights reserved. Assessment of Copper and Zinc in Soils of a Vineyard Region in the State of São Paulo, Brazil Wed, 09 Oct 2013 11:42:58 +0000 http://www.hindawi.com/journals/aess/2013/790795/ This soil acidification may increase the bioavailability of copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn) in soils. The objective of this study was to verify the concentrations of Cu and Zn in soils of a vineyard region, including sample acidification, to simulate acid rain. The study was developed in an area of vineyard cultivation, with an adjacent land having other crops grown, in the state of São Paulo, Brazil. Soil samples were collected and GPS located under different uses and coverings. The extracted solutions used to determine the available Cu and Zn forms were diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid (DTPA), pH 7.3, and calcium chloride 0.01 M. The total forms were obtained by HNO3 digestion. The amounts of Cu and Zn extracted using DTPA were considered high in most of the samples and were greater in the areas cultivated with vineyards that had received fungicide applications for several decades. The total forms were higher in vineyard soils. The amounts of Cu and Zn extracted using CaCl2 did not have good correlation with vineyards or with other metals' forms. The results confirmed that the soil was enriched with Cu and Zn due to the management of the vineyards with chemicals for several decades. Gláucia Cecília Gabrielli dos Santos, Gustavo Souza Valladares, Cleide Aparecida Abreu, Otávio Antônio de Camargo, and Célia Regina Grego Copyright © 2013 Gláucia Cecília Gabrielli dos Santos et al. All rights reserved.