Tag: soil

Clear As Mud: Researchers Make Transparent Soil For Plant Research

By Ashley P. Taylor | September 25, 2012 8:39 am

clear soil

Plant researchers who want to study the roots of growing plants have a problem: Those roots are obscured by the soil in which the plant grows. But no more hiding. Now researchers have designed a transparent soil that lets them look at not only roots but also the microbes, good and bad, that colonize them.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World

Chemical Overkill: Too Much Fertilizer Is Endangering China's Soil

By Andrew Moseman | February 15, 2010 8:00 am

chinaFarmerRecently at 80beats we’ve covered some of troubles China has had with toxins leaking into its waterways from petroleum spills and the environmental degradation caused by mining for rare Earth metals. But in a study this week in Science,  Zhang Fusuo raises another concern: The country’s soil is on the path to being dangerously acidic.

Zhang’s team looked at the government’s research data for soil over 30 years, and also compared a survey of China’s soil conducted in the 2000s to one from the 1980s. For nearly all soil types found in China, soil pH has dropped 0.13 to 0.80 units since the early 1980s [ScienceNOW]. When soil lowers in pH and therefore becomes more acidic, it becomes more of a haven for pests and nematodes and less of one for plants—most plants prefer the neutral range between a pH of 6 and 8. If the trend continues, Zhang argues that China could have trouble producing enough food for its population.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Environment
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