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Sithole B.,Food and Agricultural Organization | Abbyad P.,Ecole Polytechnique - Palaiseau
Tappi Journal | Year: 2010

Aluminum soaps can be determined by formation of aluminum-acetylacetonate chelates that are volatile enough to be analyzed by gas chromatography. Application of the technique to pitch deposits containing aluminum soaps entails acid hydrolysis to break down the aluminum soaps, chelation of the aluminum with acetylacetonate at pH >6, and analysis of the aluminum chelates by gas chromatography. The technique offers results that are comparable to those obtained by a traditional, much longer method that requires acid digestion of aluminum soaps and analysis of aluminum content by inductively coupled plasma spectroscopy. Source

News Article
Site: http://www.nature.com/nature/current_issue/

It is clear that soil biodiversity represents an underutilized resource for sustaining or improving human health through better soil management. As indicated above, some agroecological management options are known to maintain and increase soil biodiversity for human, animal and plant health. However, further development of viable practices and especially the promotion of their use as broadly as possible is urgently needed. How to best manage the world’s lands for improved human health? Some basic guidelines for management of soil biodiversity are offered here. We suggest that a new approach for land use and management is required that acknowledges that soil biota act in concert to provide multiple benefits, even if these benefits are not easily observed. Moreover, increased soil foodweb complexity promotes resistance and resilience to perturbation and may buffer the impacts of extreme events. Agroecological practices that enhance soil organic matter content and soil biodiversity can promote nutrient supply, water infiltration and well-structured soil. Effective management options for cropping systems include reduced tillage with residue retention and rotation, cover crop inclusion, integrated pest management, and integrated soil fertility management (such as the combination of chemical and organic fertilizer). Expanding plant species diversity in crop and/or land rotations and adding organic amendments to pastures can increase soil biodiversity and mimic better the natural soil foodweb65, 66, 86. Additionally, maintenance of soil biodiversity at the landscape level can be enhanced through buffer strips and riparian zones and land rotations. Drainage water management can reduce the movement of pollutants, agrochemicals and other contaminants to nearby landscapes13. Likewise, several forestry practices exist that promote soil biodiversity: re-established mixed deciduous forest stands in Europe were shown to have higher soil biodiversity than pure coniferous stands87. Management for conservation of land should include soil biodiversity as an important criterion in determining protected and wilderness areas, particularly in rapidly changing ecosystems, such as tropical forests, permafrost soils and alpine grasslands. Conservation of soil biodiversity should, in general terms, be based on existing knowledge of soil properties, the abundance, sizes and types of soil organisms, and vegetation. Nevertheless, conserving soil biodiversity could also be done through laboratory isolation of individual organisms or whole communities to maintain a reservoir of genetic and functional diversity appropriate for future disease prevention, biological technologies, and pharmaceuticals88. Soil archives that conserve live collections of interacting species of soil microbes and invertebrates in soil samples from different biomes are irreplaceable and essential; yet at present there are few such archives88. Given the growing global demands placed on limited productive land and the projected increases in infectious diseases, there is an urgent need to implement these and other conservation measures as a stockpile for the future. Ideally, the practices and conservation strategies outlined above that enhance soil biodiversity for the maintenance of human health should be incorporated directly into land-, air- and water-use policies at global and regional levels and integrated with public health organizations such as the United Nations (UN) World Health Organization. Global conventions such as the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification are all central to soils and global land use but often neglect soil biodiversity and our dependence on soil for human health, with the exception of the CBD14 through the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). Through the Global Soil Partnership, the UN FAO brings together global institutions and other interested parties to coordinate agreements and international challenges related to soil sustainability. The Global Soil Partnership is advised on global soil issues by a scientific Intergovernmental Technical Panel on Soils. Likewise, progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals can be achieved by incorporating knowledge of soil biodiversity into a broader spectrum of benefits that improve human health (see Box 2; ref. 89). Importantly, the Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative was established as an independent scientific effort to provide information on soil biodiversity to policymakers and is preparing to publish the first Global Soil Biodiversity Atlas in collaboration with the European Union Joint Research Centre. The Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative (https://globalsoilbiodiversity.org) is also working to have soil biodiversity considered in current international initiatives such as the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services and Future Earth. Fortunately, there is increased recognition that developing effective management tools for soil biodiversity requires active information transfer between scientists and policymakers with new policies formed on current evidence-based knowledge and local cultural knowledge3, 4. However, we need to identify implementation mechanisms to encourage easier updates on best management practices and related policies to ensure long-term sustainable use of global lands under a changing global environment. This is particularly crucial given the rapid accumulation of new insights on how soil biodiversity can be managed to promote human health. We are losing soils and soil biodiversity at a rapid pace, with substantial negative ramifications on human health worldwide. It is time to recognize and manage soil biodiversity as an underutilized resource for achieving long-term sustainability goals related to global human health, not only for improving soils, food security, disease control, water and air quality, but because biodiversity in soils is connected to all life and provides a broader, fundamental ecological foundation for working with other disciplines to improve human health.

De Boer I.J.M.,Wageningen University | Hoving I.E.,Wageningen UR Livestock Research | Vellinga T.V.,Wageningen UR Livestock Research | Van De Ven G.W.J.,Wageningen University | And 2 more authors.
International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment | Year: 2013

Purpose: The assessment of water footprints of a wide range of products has increased awareness on preserving freshwater as a resource. The water footprint of a product was originally defined by Hoekstra and Hung (2002) as the sum of the volumetric water use in terms of green, blue and grey water along the entire life cycle of a product and, as such, does not determine the environmental impact associated with freshwater use. Recently, several papers were published that describe building blocks that enable assessment of the site-specific environmental impact associated with freshwater use along the life cycle of a global food chain, such as the impact on human health (HH), ecosystem quality (EQ) or resource depletion (RD). We integrated this knowledge to enable an assessment of the environmental impact associated with freshwater use along the life cycle of milk production, as a case for a global food chain. Material and methods: Our approach innovatively combined knowledge about the main impact pathways of freshwater use in life cycle assessment (LCA), knowledge about site-specific freshwater impacts and knowledge about modelling of irrigation requirements of global feed crops to assess freshwater impacts along the life cycle of milk production. We evaluated a Dutch model farm situated on loamy sand in the province of Noord-Brabant, where grass and maize land is commonly irrigated. Results and discussion: Production of 1 kg of fat-and-protein corrected milk (FPCM) on the model farm in Noord-Brabant required 66 L of consumptive water. About 76 % of this water was used for irrigation during roughage cultivation, 15 % for production of concentrates and 8 % for drinking and cleaning services. Consumptive water use related to production of purchased diesel, gas, electricity and fertiliser was negligible (i.e. total 1 %). Production of 1 kg of FPCM resulted in an impact on HH of 0.8 × 10 -9 disability adjusted life years, on EQ of 12.9 × 10 -3 m2 × year and on RD of 6.7 kJ. The impact of producing this kilogram of FPCM on RD, for example, was caused mainly by cultivation of concentrate ingredients, and appeared lower than the average impact on RD of production of 1 kg of broccoli in Spain. Conclusions: Integration of existing knowledge from diverse science fields enabled an assessment of freshwater impacts along the life cycle of a global food chain, such as Dutch milk production, and appeared useful to determine its environmental hotspots. Results from this case study support earlier findings that LCA needs to go beyond simple water volume accounting when the focus is on freshwater scarcity. The approach used, however, required high-resolution inventory global data (i.e. especially regarding crop yield, soil type and root depth), and demonstrated a trade-off between scientific quality of results and applicability of the assessment method. © 2012 The Author(s). Source

Kathiresan R.,Annamalai University | Gualbert G.,Food and Agricultural Organization
Weed Biology and Management | Year: 2016

Invasive weeds degrade ecosystems and are a threat to plant and animal biodiversity. The literature on biological invasions suggests that only 10% of introduced species become invasive in a new host range. Most introduced plants do not become invasive in a new environment. The invasive behavior of a weed depends on the weed's genetic variability, biotic factors, and climatic factors with which it interacts. The climatic factors that affect the invasive traits of weeds include the atmospheric temperature, soil temperature, precipitation, evaporation, and CO2 concentration. The biological traits that are influenced by a change in any one or more of these climatic factors include the pattern of assimilate partitioning, induction of dormancy or seed germination, herbivore tolerance, propagule production and distribution, variability of plant architecture, photosynthetic rate, and seedbank longevity. The impact of climate change on the invasive traits of certain weed species is reviewed. © 2016 Weed Science Society of Japan Source

Vinning G.S.,Food and Agricultural Organization | Doolan D.W.,Food and Agricultural Organization
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2015

The reporting of price margins in value chains is problematic. Prices provide a vague measurement because the source of information varies. Furthermore, price margins vary along the chain and investment decisions in off-farm inputs are not made on the basis of margins. Nor does the reporting approach provide a road map for interventions to improve the efficiency of the chain. The reform approach used in Balochistan, Pakistan, has evolved through working on value chains for different agricultural products in countries in the Pacific and Asia. It uses a simple three-stage chain of "production", "marketing", and "the bit in the middle" that links the two with the clear intention of increasing returns to growers. Over twenty elements have been identified in the three stages that are applicable to a host of rural products in the horticultural, agricultural and livestock sub-sectors. The principle elements in each of the three stages are outlined along with their associated generic interventions to improve performance. A case study of the Balochistan grape industry is used to illustrate the usefulness of the reform approach. The approach has resulted in improved returns to growers of around 30%. Source

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