About this Research Topic
Environmental processes such as erosion, decline of organic matter, landslides, flooding, sealing, salinization, compaction and chemical pollution are considered the major threats for soil quality. However, chemical pollution is probably the most significant environmental stressor in the long-term degradation of agricultural soils. A wide variety of pollutants reaches the soil via pesticide application, fertilization with biosolid-derived composts, and crop irrigation with reclaimed wastewater. Moreover, the use of plastic materials in agriculture (e.g., plastic film mulching, soil solarization) is other way of soil contamination by microplastics (<5 mm plastic fragments).
It is now recognized that soil biodiversity is a critical variable in maintaining soil quality and fertility. Therefore, the use of bioengineering and biological strategies for promoting soil faunal diversity while mitigates adverse effects from pollutants is a topic of active research. Among these strategies, biochar and vermicompost emerge as environmentally friendly technologies with potential to pollutant detoxification and soil biodiversity promotion. However, although the application of such strategies requires meeting regulatory quality standards mainly based on physicochemical parameters, potential toxicity of these materials is often ignored.
This Research Topic aims to bring together research on basic knowledge and critical aspects of emerging strategies and practices to promote soil biodiversity. More specifically, the SI covers the following, but not limited to, subjects:
- Ecotoxicology of soil amendments (biochar, vermicompost, and other related agricultural, industrial and municipal by-products).
- Impact of soil amendments on contaminant fate and toxicity at both short- and long-term scales.
- Methodologies and strategies for monitoring toxicity of soil amendments (predictive and prospective environmental risk assessment).
- Chemical and biological strategies for managing plastic debris to obtain environmentally safety soil organic amendments (e.g., biochar derived from co-pyrolyzed biomass and plastic waste streams).
Keywords: Ecotoxicological risk assessment, Biochar, Vermicompost, Bioremediation, Toxicity testing, Soil biodiversity
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