Understanding soil nitrogen management using synchrotron technology

How different fertilizers affect soil organic matter and what that means for crops As food security becomes an increasingly important global issue, scientists are looking for the best way to maintain the organic matter in soils using different methods of fertilization and crop rotation. Increasing the organic matter in soils is key to growing crops for numerous reasons, including increased water-holding capacity and improved tilth. Scientists have recently used the Canadian Light Source (CLS) to evaluate the effects of various…

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Biochar Quiets Microbes & Some Plant Pathogens

Synthetic biologists at Rice probe biochar’s impact on microbial signaling In the first study of its kind, Rice University scientists have used synthetic biology to study how a popular soil amendment called “biochar” can interfere with the chemical signals that some microbes use to communicate. The class of compounds studied includes those used by some plant pathogens to coordinate their attacks. Biochar is charcoal that is produced — typically from waste wood, manure or leaves — for use as a…

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China’s Synthetic Gas Plants Would be Greenhouse Giants

Synthetic gas is sometimes not the best alternative available, especially when it has been produced in coal-powered factories. Read the following release. Huge scale of gas-from-coal plants ‘an environmental disaster in the making DURHAM, N.C. — Coal-powered synthetic natural gas plants being planned in China would produce seven times more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional natural gas plants, and use up to 100 times the water as shale gas production, according to a new study by Duke University researchers. These…

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Eco-Friendly Business Promotion Techniques

Taking steps to become eco-friendly can serve as a promotional bragging right, elevating the status of your business in the eyes of the consumer public. In short, it’s a win-win on the promo front. So if you’re looking for a few good ways to greenify…

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Renewables Top 14% of U.S. Electrical Generation During First Half of 2013

Non-Hydro Renewables Triple Output in a Decade; Now Nearly Equal Conventional Hydropower According to the latest issue of the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) “Electric Power Monthly,” with preliminary data through to June 30, 2013, renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) provided 14.20% of the nation’s net electric power generation during the first half of the year. For the same period in 2012, renewables accounted for 13.57% of net electrical generation. Moreover, non-hydro renewables have more than tripled…

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Reducing Residential Energy Consumption through Home Energy Audits

With the growing trend towards becoming green and the emergence of energy audits and energy scores, people are left wondering, “What does it all mean and why should I care?”  The short answer to the question is; if you care about your financial status and environmental health then you care about your energy score. Energy Audits Defined A home energy audit gives a home an energy score, which paints a great picture of where your home currently stands and how…

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Biofertiliser: How Does Your Garden Grow?

Using coal waste from the site of a former colliery in Nottinghamshire as a substrate, the researchers grew rapeseed, flax, sugar beet and maize, with different additives: manure, zeolite, lime, or biofertiliser, as well as coal waste alone and regular garden soil. Plants grown in the coal waste with added biofertiliser achieved nearly twice the weight and yield of those grown in garden soil or in coal waste with added manure, and more than twice the weight and yield of those grown in coal waste with added zeolite. The results are published in the August issue of the International Journal of Environment and Resource.

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