Our agricultural soils are subjected to a large variety of practices (tillage, rotation) and are affected by organic and inorganic amendments that can supply plant nutrients and stabilize organic carbon. This justifies recycling the available resources in order to establish a sustainable agriculture and improve soil quality and productivity.
The soil is the recipient of many different materials. When these products are introduced under inadequate conditions they can affect the system soil-plant-water, generating diffuse pollution processes by N compounds, heavy metals and organic contaminants. The presence of these products in the soil may even generate potential ecotoxic (genotoxicity, mutagenicity). All these negative effects should be controlled through the knowledge of the physical, chemical and biological processes that take place in the soil when fertilizers or other types of amendments are applied to that substrate. The goal is to prevent or, at least, to minimize, the risks of environmental pollution.
The research line of the Group focuses on the generation of new knowledge aimed at treating and reusing wastes in agriculture in an efficient and safe way, in order to improve soil fertility and quality, while protecting soil from degradation and contamination.
The research activity of the group is focused on obtaining a better understanding of the vulnerability of water resources to nitrogenous pollutants from diffuse sources. We address this topic through an interdisciplinary approach, developing technical tools and procedures for a sustainable water management in agroecosystems.
The group investigates the impact of priority contaminants in soil, through the combined use of chemical, biological and geostatistics techniques, to determine the burden and dispersion of contaminants, to assess its effect on the soil nematofauna, and develop a system for the assessment of ecological risk.
Our research is focused on the study of the Rhizobium-legume and the ectomycorrhizal symbioses and their tolerance to environmental stresses, with the aim of optimizing their application in agriculture and in the restoration of degraded soils and ecosystems.