Prague, Czech Republic

Czech University of Life Sciences

www.czu.cz/en/
Prague, Czech Republic

Czech University of Life science Prague ; is a university of agricultural education and research in Prague, the Czech Republic, established in 1906. Wikipedia.

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News Article | April 26, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

A young man pays his respects to his ancestors at a cemetery in Shanghai (AFP Photo/Johannes EISELE) Vienna (AFP) - It's not only in life that humans leave their mark on Nature. In death, our decomposing corpses alter the chemistry of precious soil, scientists warned on Wednesday. Whether our bodies are buried or cremated, they leach iron, zinc, sulphur, calcium and phosphorus into ground that may later be used as farms, forests or parks. They are essential nutrients, but human funerary practices mean they are being concentrated in cemeteries instead of being dispersed evenly throughout nature, according to new research. This means that in some places the nutrients may be over-concentrated for optimal absorption by plants and creatures, while lacking in others. Furthermore, human bodies also contain more sinister elements, such as mercury from dental fillings. "Chemical traces of decomposed bodies can frequently be very well distinguished in soil," said Ladislav Smejda of the Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague, who took part in the unusual probe. "These traces persist for a very long time, for centuries to millennia." The effects will become more pronounced as more and more dead bodies are laid to rest, Smejda said in Vienna, where he unveiled the research at a meeting of the European Geosciences Union. "What we do today with our dead will affect the environment for a very, very long time," he said. "Maybe it is not such a problem in our current perspective but with an increasing population globally it might become a pressing problem in the future." Smejda and a team used X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy to analyse soil chemicals in graves and ash "scattering gardens". Using animal carcasses, they also measured the theoretical impact of an ancient practice called "excarnation", whereby the dead are left out in the open for nature to take its course. In all three cases, the ground contained "significantly" higher concentrations of chemicals compared to the surrounds, Smejda said. If there had been no cemeteries, human remains, like those of animals, would be distributed randomly for the nutrients they release to be reused "again and again, everywhere," the researcher told AFP. But concentrating them in certain places "is something that can be regarded as not natural. It's a human impact, we are changing natural levels," he said. Now the question is: "Can we come up with a better idea (of) how to distribute these necessary elements across wider landscapes?" Smejda added. "Certainly there is a potential to invent, to develop and to put into practice... new ways of human burial or new treatments that could be more environmentally friendly, more ecological." He conceded this was a "taboo" topic for many, with funerary customs deeply rooted in culture and religion. "It's a very complex matter and we are just at the start of this discussion, I think." For more news videos visit Yahoo View, available now on iOS and Android.


News Article | April 26, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

Burying people in cemeteries is just another way humans are messing with the environment. Agence France-Presse reported bodies buried whole or cremated “leach iron, zinc, sulfur, calcium and phosphorus into the ground that may later be used as farms, forests or parks.” Putting them all in one place deprives soils in other areas of certain nutrients while giving them all to the flora at burial sites. Read: These Medieval Villagers Mutilated the Dead Because Zombies Those chemicals could last for hundreds, or even thousands, of years and can only increase along with population growth. “If there had been no cemeteries, human remains, like those of animals, would be distributed randomly for the nutrients they release to be reused,” AFP said. Putting them all into graveyards “is something that can be regarded as not natural,” researcher Ladislav Smejda of the Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague told the news service. “It’s a human impact. We are changing natural levels.” After a person dies, the long and complicated process of decomposition — in which those nutrients are released into surrounding soil — begins. “Cells become deprived of oxygen, and their acidity increases as the toxic by-products of chemical reactions begin to accumulate inside them,” the Guardian reported. “Enzymes start to digest cell membranes and then leak out as the cells break down.” Among the many other physical changes decomposition entails, microbes living in the body will begin to digest the organs and other tissues. “A rotting corpse is teeming with life,” the Guardian observed. How Do You Know if Someone Is Really Dead?


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: INFRADEV-02-2016 | Award Amount: 1.96M | Year: 2017

The general objective of PRO-METROFOOD is to bring the emerging METROFOOD-RI ESFRI project to the level of maturity required for entering in the active project list, strengthening the Consortium and planning the future phases. The specific objectives have been set up in close relationship with the ESFRI SWG & IG Recommendation. 4 specific objectives have been identified: OBJ1 design strategies on the medium and long terms; OBJ2 provide the organizational framework of METROFOOD-RI; OBJ3 demonstrate the capability of METROFOOD-RI to supply scientific services and prepare the chart of services; OBJ4 establish plans to coherently integrate METROFOOD-RI into the European landscape, realising coordination with EU and National initiatives and positioning at a global level. The strategic Plan will be tailored to the Pan European Infrastructure current and envisaged capabilities, market opportunities and business needs. It will be developed by involving funding agencies, relevant authorities supporting METROFOOD-RI and other stakeholders. A management conceptual model will be developed and the framework will be designed under operational, strategic and institutional aspects. Management procedures suitable for the different phases will set up, so to cover short and long-term goals. A Quality Documentation System (QDS) will be developed and a data management plan (DMP) will be defined. In order to demonstrate the capability of PRO-METROFOOD to supply services and to test its inter-operability, pilot services will be performed. In strict accordance with the METROFOOD-RI strategies, plans to coherently integrate METROFOOD-RI into the European landscape will be developed. A Communication plan and education and training programmes will be developed for the different phases of METROFOOD-RI realization (earl, preparatory, implementation and operational phases). For each phase the main coordinator, the target group and the main training subject areas will be specified.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-TP | Phase: KBBE.2012.1.2-03 | Award Amount: 7.69M | Year: 2012

BIOFECTOR is an integrated project that develops alternative fertilisation strategies by the use of various bio-effectors (BEs, plant growth promoting microorganisms and natural extraction products). BEs stimulate root growth, solubilise and mineralise sparingly available nutrients, or protect plants from abiotic and biotic stresses. Novel BEs will be isolated, characterized and applied in strategic combination with alternative fertilisation strategies that include organic and low-input farming, use of waste recycling fertilizers, and fertiliser-placement technologies. Bio-effectors addressed comprise fungal strains of Trichoderma, Penicillium and Sebacinales, as well as bacterial strains of Bacillus and Pseudomonades with well-characterized root growth promoting and nutrient solubilising potential. Natural extraction products of seaweed, compost and plant extracts, as well as their purified active compounds are also tested in various combinations. Maize, wheat and tomato are chosen as representative crops. Laboratory and European-wide field experiments assure product adaptation to divers geo-climatic conditions. Viable alternatives to the conventional practice of mineral fertilisation are developed, towards environmental friendly agricultural practice with reduced agrochemical input.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: CSA | Phase: SFS-06-2014 | Award Amount: 1.78M | Year: 2015

PROIntensAfrica intends to develop a proposal for a long term research and innovation partnership between Europe and Africa, focusing on the improvement of the food and nutrition security and the livelihoods of African farmers by exploring and exploiting the diversity of pathways to sustainable intensification of African agro-food systems. The exploration will include environmental, economic and social externalities along the whole value chains. PROIntensAfrica has the ambition to formulate a research and innovation agenda, identifying the domains in need for further research to realize the potential of African food systems. In addition, PROIntensAfrica will suggest governance mechanisms that are effective in supporting the partnership. Key is the perception that pooling resources is the best way to align existing and initiate new research. This perception follows the policy of the EC, where instruments of joint programming like ERA-NET, JPI and article 185 aim to accomplish synergy and increase the effectiveness of resources. Pooling resources goes beyond the scientific domain and reaches into the policy domain. Consequently, besides being rooted in sound and challenging research, a partnership proposal needs to meet national and international policies to fly. Therefore PROIntensAfrica pay specific attention to engage with the policy domain, as exemplified by the intended creation of a policy support group. The rationale of the project is that a variety of pathways leads to sustainable intensification of African food systems. Different pathways are advocated in literature. High-input farming systems, for example, contrast with organic farming systems, each with their own supporters and criticasters. It is the conviction of the PROIntensAfrica consortium that moving beyond that debate will open exciting new pathways, and that combining elements of different systems will yield innovative systems that are optimally adapted to specific contexts.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2014-ETN | Award Amount: 3.75M | Year: 2015

Data on seawater composition since the start of the Phanerozoic eon ~540 million years ago provide essential information for understanding long-term chemical processes of socio-economic dimension like the evolution of life, land-ocean interaction, atmospheric chemistry, ecosystem adaptation to climate change, oceanic trace metal cycling, and for applied geological processes like the formation of submarine energy resources. Although partly known this knowledge is still limited pending new methodical prospects and innovative analytical techniques. Following this approach, the proposed ETN BASE-LiNE Earth will train early stage researchers (ESRs) who will extend the knowledge of the complex and long-term Phanerozoic seawater history by the determination of original proxy information preserved in reliable ancient geological archives using cutting edge technologies and experimental approaches. In order to amplify this process the ESRs will be exposed to academic and non-academic high-tech institutions linking biogeochemical research and training in biology, ecology, geochemistry as well as chemical analytics to engineering and cutting edge analytical instrumentation. Multi- and interdisciplinary environments will expose our ESRs to highly demanded transferable skills increasing their employability when it comes to job application. BASE-LiNE Earth will offer societally important deliverables like time series of past trace element and isotope cycling and models about ocean material fluxes in and out of the Phanerozoic Ocean. This will be shared in publications, reports and exhibitions. Interactive lecturing material will be offered for education in general and specifically for high school teachers. Through collaboration with high-tech companies the ETN will contribute to establish both, new approaches for the exploration of hydrocarbon reservoirs and innovative and sophisticated analytical instrumentation for trace element and isotope measurements.


Vymazal J.,Czech University of Life Sciences
Hydrobiologia | Year: 2011

The presence of macrophytes is one of the most conspicuous features of wetlands and their presence distinguishes constructed wetlands from unplanted soil filters or lagoons. The macrophytes growing in constructed wetlands have several properties in relation to the treatment process that make them an essential component of the design. However, only several roles of macrophytes apply to constructed wetlands with horizontal subsurface flow (HF CWs). The plants used in HF CWs designed for wastewater treatment should therefore: (1) be tolerant of high organic and nutrient loadings, (2) have rich belowground organs (i.e. roots and rhizomes) in order to provide substrate for attached bacteria and oxygenation (even very limited) of areas adjacent to roots and rhizomes and (3) have high aboveground biomass for winter insulation in cold and temperate regions and for nutrient removal via harvesting. The comparison of treatment efficiency of vegetated HF CWs and unplanted filters is not unanimous but most studies have shown that systems with plants achieve higher treatment efficiency. The vegetation has mostly a positive effect, i.e. supports higher treatment efficiency, for organics and nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus. By far the most frequently used plant around the globe is Phragmites australis (Common reed). Species of the genera Typha (latifolia, angustifolia, domingensis, orientalis and glauca) and Scirpus (e.g. lacustris, validus, californicus and acutus) spp. are other commonly used species. In many countries, and especially in the tropics and subtropics, local plants including ornamental species are used for HF CWs. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.


Vymazal J.,Czech University of Life Sciences
Ecological Engineering | Year: 2014

Constructed wetlands have been used for wastewater treatment for more than fifty years. Most applications have been designed to treat municipal or domestic wastewater but at present, constructed wetlands are successfully applied to many types of wastewater. The early constructed wetlands applied to industrial wastewaters included those for wastewaters from petrochemical, abattoir, meat processing, dairy and pulp and paper industries. During the 1990s constructed wetlands were also used to treat effluents from textile and wine industries or water from recirculating fish and shrimp aquacultures. The most recent applications include those for brewery or tannery wastewaters as well as olive mills effluents. The survey revealed that both subsurface and surface flow constructed wetlands have been used for treatment of industrial wastewaters. Within subsurface flow constructed wetlands both horizontal and vertical flow systems have been designed. Also, the use of various hybrid constructed wetlands for industrial effluent treatment has been reported in the literature recently. The survey also revealed that industrial wastewaters are treated in constructed wetlands in all continents and this paper includes the information from 138 constructed wetlands in 33 countries worldwide. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.


The hybrid systems were developed in the 1960s but their use increased only during the late 1990s and in the 2000s mostly because of more stringent discharge limits for nitrogen and also more complex wastewaters treated in constructed wetlands (CWs). The early hybrid CWs consisted of several stages of vertical flow (VF) followed by several stages of horizontal flow (HF) beds. During the 1990s, HF-VF and VF-HF hybrid systems were introduced. However, to achieve higher removal of total nitrogen or to treat more complex industrial and agricultural wastewaters other types of hybrid constructed wetlands including free water surface (FWS) CWs and multistage CWs have recently been used as well. The survey of 60 hybrid constructed wetlands from 24 countries reported after 2003 revealed that hybrid constructed wetlands are primarily used on Europe and in Asia while in other continents their use is limited. The most commonly used hybrid system is a VF-HF constructed wetland which has been used for treatment of both sewage and industrial wastewaters. On the other hand, the use of a HF-VF system has been reported only for treatment of municipal sewage. Out of 60 surveyed hybrid systems, 38 have been designed to treat municipal sewage while 22 hybrid systems were designed to treat various industrial and agricultural wastewaters. The more detailed analysis revealed that VF-HF hybrid constructed wetlands are slightly more efficient in ammonia removal than hybrid systems with FWS CWs, HF-VF systems or multistage VF and HF hybrid CWs. All types of hybrid CWs are comparable with single VF CWs in terms of NH4-N removal rates. On the other hand, CWs with FWS units remove substantially more total nitrogen as compared to other types of hybrid constructed wetlands. However, all types of hybrid constructed wetlands are more efficient in total nitrogen removal than single HF or VF constructed wetlands. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.


Vymazal J.,Czech University of Life Sciences
Ecological Engineering | Year: 2013

Constructed wetlands with free water surface (FWS CWs) have been used for many purposes worldwide. Emergent macrophytes play important roles in FWS CWs; they reduce wind speed and thus support sedimentation and prevent re-suspension, provide substrate for periphyton and bacteria, take up nutrients and in carbon-limited systems provide carbon for denitrification during biomass decomposition. It has been reported that treatment performance of planted FWS CWs is superior to unvegetated lagoons. However, treatment performance of FWS CWs could be affected by plant species used. The literature survey of 643 FWS CWs from 43 countries recorded 150 plant species and revealed that the most commonly used macrophyte genera were Typha, Scirpus (Schoenoplectus), Phragmites, Juncus and Eleocharis. In terms of species, most frequently used species were Typha latifolia, Phragmites australis, Typha angustifolia, Juncus effusus, Scirpus lacustris, Scirpus californicus and Phalaris arundinacea. In terms of continents, P. australis is the most frequent species in Europe and Asia, T. latifolia in North America, Cyperus papyrus in Africa, P. australis and Typha domingensis in Central/South Americas and Scirpus validus (S. tabernaemontani) in Oceania. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

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