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Questions tagged [soil]

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Simple and inexpensive astrobiological studies at MDRS

MDRS is a Mars analogue station where volunteers live in Southeast Utah desert for two weeks and perform experiments. Some of these experiments are done in conjunction with public outreach for middle ...
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Stems sticking out of soil

In the gaps in my stone path there are several places where there are a group of thin plant stems sticking out of the ground, usually among a pile of smaller stones. I suspect the action of earthworms....
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fermentation in soil bacteria

I am doing a project on microbial fuel cell. For the purpose of the efficiency of the question, MFCs can be summarized to: Devices that use anaerobic bacteria as the catalysts to oxidize organic ...
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Methane and wetlands

Some papers I have read show carbon accumulation (peat) in wetlands is reduced because of low methane emissions. Why is this the case? Why does low methane emission reduce carbon accumulation in ...
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Sulfate reduction

I have conducted an experiment where a soil was amended with sulfate and incubated. The porewater in one soil had a concentration of ~50 mg/L, while the other had a concentration of ~200 mg/L. I ...
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161 views

Alternative to distilled water for pH test

I am looking to test soil pH in a remote location. The test results don't need to be perfectly precise, and a pH test strip should provide sufficient accuracy. However generally this kind of testing ...
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RNA extraction from soil

I have been trying to extract RNA from soil without success. I have used commercial kits (The Plant DNeasy kit) because I did not want to buy a complete new kit (Soil) to do 5 extractions. Is there ...
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2answers
77 views

Recommendation for book about soil and their food webs

Are there any de facto books for studying soil biology; specifically with details in the context of food webs? I am trying to teach myself about the subject and would like a good introductory book, ...
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2answers
288 views

Why do soil bacteria produce nitrous oxide as a result of anhydrous ammonia fertilizer application?

The NPR article and 4 minute audio news item Can Anyone, Even Walmart, Stem The Heat-Trapping Flood Of Nitrogen On Farms? discusses unexpected contributions of greenhouse gasses from the manufacture ...
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3answers
85 views

What is carbon in the soil?

I often see the term "carbon in the soil" (example) but I cannot figure out what it is. It's a positive goal too - people want agricultural techniques that do not deplete it. What form does this ...
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2answers
92 views

Why does frost increase soil fertility?

I was reading this paper: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:1011398431524, which makes claims based on the the idea that frost can increase soil fertility. How/Why will frost increase the ...
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1answer
35 views

Watering plants with soaked forest soil [closed]

I am thinking of mixing forest soil with water and water plants with that. I was hoping that nutrients from soil would get released into the water, so in effect, fertilize the soil. I am not sure if ...
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3answers
210 views

Spruce growing high up in a maple trunk: Can a partially rotted trunk completely sustain another tree?

I've come across a spruce tree that is growing 15ft up in the crotch of a sugar maple tree: According to Google StreetView, the spruce has been there since before 2007 (over 10 years ago!). I've ...
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2answers
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Odds of finding superbug in soil?

There are tons of soil, rock, etc. being dug up, dug into, and moved all around the world each day. Paleontologists likewise regularly excavate fossils and both buried and frozen specimens, and ...
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1answer
68 views

What is the standard method for measuring soil and substrate acidity

Soils and other plant substrates differ a lot in their moisture content. In dry matter a pH is not measurable without adding water, but this has the problem of the resulting value not being ...
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1answer
263 views

Help to identify this large, slow-growing mushroom?

Here in my backyard in Southern California, there appears to be this relatively smooth, mottled-colored dome-like structure a little larger than a chicken egg in the dirt. Can anyone identify it? Is ...
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3answers
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Is the amount of the soil reduced when plants grow?

According to the principle of mass conservation I think the amount of the soil should be reduced when plants grow. But this reduction is not typically observed. For example, some trees (big trees) ...
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1answer
64 views

Relation between biomass and radius of roots system

Is there a known relation between the mass of a plant to the size of its roots? For example, can I take the root size to be proportional to the biomass of the plant like in this relation: $$R = R_0 (...
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1answer
282 views

Indoor plants acidic soil

I have a ponytail tree plant. The new growth look anemic, pale and thin. And several leave have browned from the midway to the ends of the leaves. The stem is woody and firm. Though it is in a solid ...
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1answer
37 views

How do you test soil for the nutrients present in it? [closed]

I recently noticed that my rose garden has been in a very terrible state. The roses keep dying. I tested the soil for its pH and that was fine. Now I'm wondering how would I carry out a test to see ...
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1answer
688 views

Can electricity be harvested from the soil around plants? [closed]

This is a rehash of a question I originally wrote on Skeptics which got moved to Physics, but I'm really after an answer from a biological perspective. A device called the E-Kaia is making news by ...
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46 views

Requirements for soil sample transportation over long distance

I need to collected soil sample from agricultural area far away from my lab. It would required about a week for the sample to arrive to lab. I need the soil sample for genomic DNA isolation (...
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1answer
785 views

What bacteria shed harvestable energy from root zone organic matter?

I recently heard of a successful effort that harvests energy from soil at plants' bases due to apparently bacterial breakdown of wastes from the plants: Via photosynthesis a plant produces organic ...
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1answer
478 views

Crude oil contamination hazard

I'm not sure if this is physics, biology or chemistry related so I will start here. I'm from a city (Baku, Azerbaijan) where crude oil is known to be extracted since ancient times. Oil is no longer ...
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2answers
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What are the pros and cons of eating earth (soil)?

I wonder if there are any benefits to eat earth. What I mean by earth is the topsoil that is sometimes on vegetable (I eat organic vegetables and some of them like spinach are full of topsoil). I ...
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1answer
179 views

How Do Acid and Base Loving Plants Get Enough PO4?

Acidic and Basic soils experience phosphate sequestration through binding with either calcium, aluminum, or iron. How do plant that thrive in acidic and basic soils obtain the necessary phosphate? ...
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1answer
323 views

Any food crops that could grow in a desert provided that they get fertilizer and water

I am working on an idea to provide nearly unlimited amounts of water in desert regions. To make this commercially viable. I would use the water to irrigate desert sand and grow crops. Given my ...