Quantcast

Latest Soil biology Stories

2010-10-08 02:24:37

Resulting ecological damage is serious, but could be reduced by wider use of more sustainable, time-honored practices Humans are overloading ecosystems with nitrogen through the burning of fossil fuels and an increase in nitrogen-producing industrial and agricultural activities, according to a new study. While nitrogen is an element that is essential to life, it is an environmental scourge at high levels. According to the study, excess nitrogen that is contributed by human activities pollutes...

2010-09-14 12:38:40

Farming practices have a significant impact on the diversity of beneficial microbial fungi known to play important roles in crop productivity, soil recovery and maintenance of healthy ecosystems, according to new research published today (14 September 2010) in the journal Environmental Microbiology. The conclusions could have important implications for the way humans manage the agricultural landscape and tackle food security issues. The study was led by Dr Christopher van der Gast at the...

2010-08-09 14:20:54

Nitrogen-altering bacteria thrive under charcoal deposition When fire burns down a forest, nitrate levels go up, and the effects are persistent, according to recent research from University of Montana scientists. They found that charcoal deposited during fire events has the potential to stimulate the conversion of ammonia to nitrates, an important step in the nitrogen cycle. Led by Patrick Ball, the research team found that a type of bacteria that transforms ammonia into nitrates was found in...

2010-06-11 01:47:29

By tinkering with a type of fungus that lives in association with plant roots, researchers have found a way to increase the growth of rice by an impressive margin. The so-called mycorrhizal fungi are found in association with nearly all plants in nature, where they deliver essential nutrients"”specifically phosphate"”to plants in return for sugar. The findings are nevertheless a surprise, according to researchers reporting online on June 10th in Current Biology, a Cell Press...

f795f9e9d625d24a9bd8c0fe21de304a1
2010-03-25 08:31:14

Twenty years of field studies reveal that as the Earth has gotten warmer, plants and microbes in the soil have given off more carbon dioxide. So-called soil respiration has increased about one-tenth of 1 percent per year since 1989, according to an analysis of past studies in the March 24 issue of Nature. The scientists also calculated the total amount of carbon dioxide flowing from soils, which is about 10-15 percent higher than previous measurements. That number -- about 98 petagrams of...

dff2354fd339482776ab2201ecaddd8c1
2010-03-16 13:59:29

"Essex," a new lentil variety developed by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists, has a lot to offer: high seed yields for growers, nitrogen-fixing bacteria for wheat crops, and a tasty source of protein for consumers to add to soups, salads and other fare. George Vandemark, a plant geneticist who leads the ARS Grain Legume Genetics and Physiology Research Unit in Pullman, Wash., developed Essex in collaboration with Fred Muehlbauer, now retired from ARS, and Kevin McPhee, a pulse...

9df45ec2253eb7e99d73a2d6926b4109
2010-03-01 11:24:00

Nitrogen is vital for all plant life, but increasingly the planet is paying a heavy price for the escalating use of nitrogen fertilizer. Excess nitrogen from fertilizer runoff into rivers and lakes causes algal blooms that create oxygen-depleted dead zones, such as the 6,000 to 7,000 square mile zone in the Gulf of Mexico, and nitrogen in the form of nitrous oxide is a potent greenhouse gas. But new findings by Stanford researchers that reveal the inner workings of nitrogen-producing bacteria...

ccb75702f051b89c932a4e369f71d1d61
2010-02-25 15:21:42

Novel species found to be more widely distributed in world's seas Marine scientists long believed that a microbe called Trichodesmium, a member of a group called the cyanobacteria, reigned over the ocean's nitrogen budget. New research results reported on-line today in a paper in Science Express show that Trichodesmium may have to share its nitrogen-fixing throne: two others of its kind, small spherical species of nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria called UCYN-A and Crocosphaera watsonii, are also...

ff2eb00afad682e2f8270d74a1d8b40e1
2010-02-21 13:26:55

Flightless birds, blind cave shrimp, and other oddities suggest a "use it or lose it" tendency in evolution. In the microbial world, an unusual marine microorganism appears to have ditched several major metabolic pathways, leaving it with a remarkably reduced set of genes. This metabolic minimalist is a specialist uniquely suited to performing one very important function: taking nitrogen gas from the atmosphere and "fixing" it into a form that makes this essential nutrient available to other...

2009-11-10 18:41:37

Female plants were more likely to be colonized by the mycorrhizal fungi than male plants The war between the sexes has been fought on many fronts throughout time"”from humans to birds to insects, the animal kingdom is replete with species involved in their own skirmishes. A recent study by Dr. Sarah Eppley and colleagues at Portland State University published in the November issue of the American Journal of Botany (www.amjbot.org/cgi/content/full/96/11/1967) demonstrates that certain...


Word of the Day
cock-a-hoop
  • Exultant; jubilant; triumphant; on the high horse.
  • Tipsy; slightly intoxicated.
This word may come from the phrase 'to set cock on hoop,' or 'to drink festively.' Its origin otherwise is unclear. A theory, according to the Word Detective, is that it's a 'transliteration of the French phrase 'coq a huppe,' meaning a rooster displaying its crest ('huppe') in a pose of proud defiance.' Therefore, 'cock-a-hoop' would 'liken a drunken man to a boastful and aggressive rooster.'
Related