Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Organic agriculture can pollute groundwater, research shows

Date:
February 18, 2014
Source:
American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Summary:
Public demand has led to the rapid development of organic farming in recent years to provide healthy food products that are free of chemical additives and to reduce industrial and groundwater pollution worldwide. However, according to a new paper, intensive organic matter using composted manure prior to planting resulted in significantly higher groundwater pollution rates compared with liquid fertilization techniques. The study compared the water quality across the entire unsaturated zone under organic and conventional greenhouses in Israel.

Researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU), using specialized monitoring technology, have determined that intensive organic agriculture can cause significant pollution from nitrate leaching into groundwater.

Public demand has led to the rapid development of organic farming in recent years to provide healthy food products that are free of chemical additives and to reduce industrial and groundwater pollution worldwide.

But, according to the paper published in the Hydrology and Earth System Sciences journal, intensive organic matter using composted manure prior to planting resulted in significantly higher groundwater pollution rates compared with liquid fertilization techniques through drip irrigation.

The study used Vadose Zone Monitoring System technology developed at BGU and commercialized by Sensoil Innovations Ltd. to compare the water quality across the entire unsaturated zone under organic and conventional greenhouses in Israel.

The system is designed to monitor liquid, gas and soil hydraulic properties and allows real time continuous tracking of water in deep sections of the vadose zone, from land surface to groundwater. It is currently being used in more than 25 commercial and research sites in the United States, Israel, Spain, Namibia, and South Africa.

While groundwater pollution is usually attributed to a large array of chemicals, high nitrate concentration in aquifer water is the main cause for drinking-water well shutdowns.

The down leaching of nitrates under intensive organic farming is due to nutrient release from the compost to the soil during the early stages of the growing season. In this stage, nutrient uptake capacity of the young plants is very low and down leaching of nitrates to the deeper parts of the vadose zone and groundwater is unavoidable.

The study, funded by the Israel Water Authority, was conducted in commercial greenhouses on the Southern part of the coastal aquifer in Israel.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. O. Dahan, A. Babad, N. Lazarovitch, E. E. Russak, D. Kurtzman. Nitrate leaching from intensive organic farms to groundwater. Hydrology and Earth System Sciences Discussions, 2013; 10 (7): 9915 DOI: 10.5194/hessd-10-9915-2013

Cite This Page:

American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. "Organic agriculture can pollute groundwater, research shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140218114311.htm>.
American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. (2014, February 18). Organic agriculture can pollute groundwater, research shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140218114311.htm
American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. "Organic agriculture can pollute groundwater, research shows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140218114311.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

AP (July 28, 2014) AP Investigation: As the Obama administration weans the country off dirty fuels, energy companies are ramping-up overseas coal exports at a heavy price. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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