To rein in global warming, scientists believe it will not be
enough to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions: we will also need to remove CO2
from the atmosphere.
Soils are an important reservoir for carbon, as they contain
nearly double that found in the atmosphere and vegetation combined.
Agricultural practices have degraded soil carbon stocks, so there is a large
potential for atmospheric carbon to be sequestered in soils.
A farmer whose onion paddock is hit by the fungal disease “white rot” faces the loss not only of that crop but of productive use of the field for several years. Relief could be at hand, however, thanks to a novel granulated fungicide now being tested in the field in Victoria.
“In the case of white rot, there is no existing commercially acceptable treatment and if a farmer has an infestation in their field they can’t use it for onions or similar crops for up to 15 years,” says Anthony Flynn, managing director of the agricultural chemical research company Eureka! AgResearch. “They’ve just had to move the crop on to the next paddock.”
Australian detectives can now use a pinch of dirt or a speck of dust to help solve crimes, thanks to techniques developed at the Australian synchrotron.
Soil composition is as unique as a fingerprint so scientists can analyse dirt samples and, in theory, match their results to specific regions of the Earth’s surface. Until recently, large sample sizes were needed to make this work. Continue reading Dirt solves murder mysteries→