Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Improvement In Controlling Agricultural Runoff Still Needed To Prevent Ecological Disasters

Date:
August 25, 2000
Source:
Virginia Tech
Summary:
Growing tomatoes under plastic presents good news and bad news as far as the impact on water quality and aquatic life are concerned.

Blacksburg, Va., August 24, 2000) -- Growing tomatoes under plastic presents good news and bad news as far as the impact on water quality and aquatic life are concerned.

Related Articles


Andrea Dietrich and Daniel Gallagher, professors of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech, presented their findings regarding "Agricultural copper: Transport and toxicity in runoff from tomato fields to estuaries" at the 220th national meeting of the American Chemical Society in Washington, D.C. yesterday (Wednesday, Aug. 23).

Growing tomatoes using plastic mulch, raised beds, and drip irrigation controls soil moisture and prevents weeds, which reduces the need for herbicides and allows prescriptive use of fertilizers, thus reducing contamination by these chemicals. However, farmers must still use biocides to control fungi, bacteria, and insects, and there is still runoff -- increased runoff, in fact, due to the impermeable plastic and compacted soil between the rows. The plasticulture runoff entering nearby waterways is the copper-based bactericide and fungicide used on the plants to prevent disease.

Dietrich and her colleagues and students in agriculture, biology, and engineering have been studying copper runoff and its impacts and in waters off Eastern Virginia since the mid 1990s, with funding by various state and federal agencies. They have found that concentrations of copper in creeks exceeded the reported mortality level for clams, shrimp, and many fish species.

Farmers have considered several strategies to reduce the runoff, such as sediment ponds and grass strips, and Dietrich and Gallagher have been studying the effectiveness of such measures. In a recent project supported by Virginia Sea Grant (NOAA) and the Virginia Department of Agricultural and Consumer Services (VDACS), the researchers created simulated estuaries (complete with tidal cycles), tomato fields, and a rain simulator in a green house on campus. The research estuaries sustain fish and shrimp, and marsh plant populations so that the impact of agricultural runoff and strategies and treatments can be evaluated. Measurements from both nonplasticulture fields and plastic-covered fields were also part of the study.

The research confirmed that a sedimentation basin does reduce copper concentrations (by up to 90 percent). Sadly, however, it does not reduce the copper concentration sufficiently to eliminate the mortality of fish and grass shrimp. The enclosed greenhouse-scale research environment enabled careful chemical analysis of the copper and the researchers learned that "a significant percent is in a form that is bioavailable to the organisms," according to the final report sent to VDACS in June. "Although sedimentation has the potential to lower the total concentration of copper, it does not effect the fraction of bioavailable copper."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Virginia Tech. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Virginia Tech. "Improvement In Controlling Agricultural Runoff Still Needed To Prevent Ecological Disasters." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 August 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/08/000825082022.htm>.
Virginia Tech. (2000, August 25). Improvement In Controlling Agricultural Runoff Still Needed To Prevent Ecological Disasters. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/08/000825082022.htm
Virginia Tech. "Improvement In Controlling Agricultural Runoff Still Needed To Prevent Ecological Disasters." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/08/000825082022.htm (accessed November 26, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Feast Your Eyes: Lamb Chop Sent Into Space from UK

Feast Your Eyes: Lamb Chop Sent Into Space from UK

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 25, 2014) Take a stab at this -- stunt video shows a lamb chop's journey from an east London restaurant over 30 kilometers into space. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cambodian Capital's Only Working Elephant to Retire in Jungle

Cambodian Capital's Only Working Elephant to Retire in Jungle

AFP (Nov. 25, 2014) Phnom Penh's only working elephant was blessed by a crowd of chanting Buddhist monks Tuesday as she prepared for a life of comfortable jungle retirement after three decades of giving rides to tourists. Duration: 00:36 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stray Dog Follows Adventure Racing Team for 6-Day Endurance Race

Stray Dog Follows Adventure Racing Team for 6-Day Endurance Race

Buzz60 (Nov. 24, 2014) A Swedish Adventure racing team travels to try and win a world title, but comes home with something way better: a stray dog that joined the team for much of the grueling 430-mile race. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins