Nutrient pools and processes

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We study the repartition of nutrient pools in the soil and the processes governing their fluxes

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Stable metal isotopes to assess enrichment and sources of trace metals in soils and crops

The excessive use of fertilizers containing traces of heavy metals may lead to enhanced contents of these compounds in agricultural soils. Once added, heavy metals can be accumulated in soils, leached into the groundwater, or taken up by plants and subsequently enter the food chain. Swiss long term field observations show that total contents of Zn and Cu have increased within the last decades. In contrast, Cd contents in soils remain stable indicating either leaching or continuously uptake by plants. Since heavy metals can be potentially hazardous to plants and human health, effects of long term soil accumulation or continuous uptake in edible parts of the plants requires further investigations. The goal of the study is to determine the fate of heavy metals in common Swiss agricultural systems. To identify sources and sinks of Zn, Cu and Cd, novel metal stable isotope techniques are applied in several pot experiments in the greenhouse under controlled conditions.

Supervisor: Emmanuel Frossard (ETH Zürich)

Collaboration with: Moritz Bigalke (University of Bern, Institute of Geography, Soil Science)
Wolfgang Wilcke (Karlsruher Institut für Technologie, Institut für Geographie und Ökologie, Bodenkunde und Geomorphologie)
Armin Keller (NABO – Nationale Bodenbeobachtung Schweiz, Agroscope)
Mark Rehkämper (Imperial College London, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Earth Science & Engineering, Isotope Geochemistry)

Funding source: NRP 69, healthy nutrition and sustainable food production

Contact

ETH Zurich

Professur f. Pflanzenernährung

Matthias Wiggenhauser

FMG C 13.1

Eschikon 33

8315 Lindau

Switzerland

  • phone +41 52 354 91 43 

Bioavailability of soil organic phosphorus

Phosphorus (P) is an essential macronutrient for all biota. The dynamics of soil organic P are however still poorly understood. On one hand we aim to improve the characterization tools for organic P in soil. For that we apply 31P NMR spectroscopy and enzyme addition assays on soil extracts and soil suspensions. On the other hand we investigate P fluxes in agricultural systems, in particular organic P mineralisation. We use 33P as tracer in combination with numeric modelling techniques to increase our understanding of these processes.

Phosphorus forms characterization  
31P NMR spectroscopy and enzyme addition assays are two methods commonly used for the characterization of organic phosphorus (P) compounds in alkaline soil extracts. In this project we compare the repeatability of each method and how the detected organic P compounds correspond to each other.

Further information:
Bioavailability of soil organic P and microbial P cycling in agricultural soils

http://p3.snf.ch/Project-140900

Supervisors: Emmanuel Frossard, Else Bünemann

Publications

K.A. Jarosch, A.L. Doolette, R.J. Smernik, F. Tamburini, E. Frossard, E.K. Bünemann (submitted). Characterisation of soil organic phosphorus in NaOH-EDTA extracts: A comparison of 31P NMR spectroscopy and enzyme addition assays.

ETH-Zukunftsblog

Bedrohter Boden
Phosphor: knapp und ungleich verteilt
Phosphorrecycling aus Klärschlamm
Phosphor in der Landwirtschaft

Contact

ETH Zurich

Institut für Agrarwissenschaften

Dr. Klaus Jarosch

FMG C 13.1

Eschikon 33

8315 Lindau

Switzerland

  • phone +41 52 354 91 43 
  • fax +41 52 354 91 19 

Tracing the transfer of Zn in a soil-plant system with organic fertilizers inputs

The present project is investigating the impact of fertilization strategies, with emphasis on organic fertilizers, on the Zn transfer from the soil to the plant. The first objective of is project is to determine the effect of different organic fertilizer inputs on the phytoavailability of Zn in agricultural soils. In the second part, this study will expand the application of isotopic tracer techniques with Zn by evaluating the accuracy of the indirect tracing method with the stable isotope 67Zn to measure Zn fluxes in a soil-plant system. Finally the indirect tracing method will be applied to assess the impact of different organic fertilizer inputs on the Zn fluxes of soil-plant system in controlled conditions.

Supervisors: Emmanuel Frossard, Rainer Schulin

Collaboration with: Jochen Mayer (ART), Paul Mäder (FiBL), Marco Mazzoncini (University of Pisa), Jost Eikenberg (PSI), Daniele Antichi (University of Pisa), Dominik Weiss (Imperial College London), Christophe Zeder (ETH Zurich)

Funding source: Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI), European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST)

Contact

ETH Zurich

Professur f. Pflanzenernährung

Thilo Dürr-Auster

FMG B 15

Eschikon 33

8315 Lindau

Switzerland

Oxygen isotopes in phosphate: a tool to decipher processes driving P cycle

The use of oxygen stable isotopes in phosphate (18O-P) has improved our understanding of P cycling in the environment. Since 2007, the group of Plant Nutrition is actively involved in applying this isotopic tracer in the soil/plant system to elucidate the importance of biological processes driving P cycling. We operate on several fronts: we work to optimize extraction and purification methods for the analysis of the 18O-P in soil and plant pools; we investigate the effect of pure enzymes, responsible for the largest fractionation interesting 18O-P; we perform experiments under controlled conditions to test the effect of the enzymes and of microbial turnover; and finally we use these findings to study P cycling in the environment.

Contact

ETH Zurich

Institut für Agrarwissenschaften

Dr. Federica Tamburini

FMG C 24

Eschikon 33

8315 Lindau

Switzerland

  • phone +41 52 354 92 81 
 
 
Page URL: http://www.plantnutrition.ethz.ch/research/nutrients-processes.html
28.06.2017
© 2017 Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich