Quantifying soil

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  • “Be it deep or shallow, red or black, sand or clay, the soil is the link between the rock core of the earth and the living things on its surface. It is the foothold for the plants we grow. Therein lays the main reason for our interest in soils.” --- Roy W. Simonson, USDA Yearbook of Agriculture, 1957. The British naturalist Charles Darwin (1809–1882) was probably the first scientist to examine a soil profile and suggest factors responsible for the structure of the various layers.

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  • Two samples were also analysed for polychlorinated dioxins and furans (PCDD/Fs), a class of chemical that can be formed during the combustion of materials present in e-waste. Soil from an open burning site was moderately contaminated, while sediment from the Agbogbloshie lagoon contained a very high level of these highly toxic, highly persistent and bioaccumulative chemicals, at a level just below the threshold defined as being indicative of serious contamination for sediments in the Netherlands.

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  • In many settings nitrogen enrichment of surface water bodies has increased following the increased use of N fertilizers. The precise contribution of nitrogen fertilizers to surface water nitrogen has been difficult to quantify because there are multiple sources of nitrogen contributing to most water bodies, and, depending on environmental conditions, a certain portion of soil nitrogen may be converted to gaseous or immobile forms.

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  • Due to the high toxicity of arsenic and the poison effects to human being, identification and quantification of individual arsenic forms are important to appropriately measure the arsenic toxicity, environmental impact and health risk related to arsenic exposure. Arsenic species were quantified by HPLC-UV-HG-AAS. The separation was performed on an anion exchange Hamilton PRP-X100 (250 mm× 4,1 mm i.d.× 10 µm) column by using mobile phase A: 12 mmol/l KH2PO4- K2HPO4; pH = 6.5 and B: 24 mmol/l KH2PO4-K2HPO4; pH = 6.

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