Special Issue "Organic Fertilizers: Current Challenges and Future Prospects for Closing the Loop of Nutrients in Agricultural Production"
A special issue of Agriculture (ISSN 2077-0472).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2019).
Interests: sustainable soil management; belowground ecological interactions and their effect in biogeochemical cycles; carbon and nitrogen cycling in soils; use of organic waste materials as fertilizers in agriculture; environmental impacts of different fertilization strategies
With the increase in world human population, agriculture is facing the challenge of developing innovative ways to feed the world in a sustainable way. A direct consequence of the increase in agricultural production is the proportional increase in fertilizer demand and consumption of natural resources. The search for alternative nutrient sources and ecologically based strategies to increase fertilization efficiency is therefore a keystone to achieve agricultural sustainability. A parallel issue in most industrialized countries is the generation of large amounts of organic waste derived from diverse sources such as livestock and crop production or food processing industries. These waste materials constitute valuable sources of plant nutrients and they contribute to improving overall soil health by enhancing soil physical, chemical and biological properties.
While organic fertilizers have been traditionally used in agriculture as sources of plant nutrients for centuries, their use as substitutes of inorganic fertilizers in large-scale industrial agriculture is still challenging due to their diverse physicochemical properties. Further, the short and long term impacts of organic fertilizers on soil processes are not yet well understood, leading to inadequate management with consequent lower crop yields, large nutrient losses and environmental pollution. Finally, reintegration of agricultural waste materials as organic fertilizes in agriculture faces several logistic challenges related to the pairing of waste material producers (sources) to waste material consumers (sinks) at the regional level, as well as adequate treatment strategies to eliminate food safety issues.
Based on these challenges, I would like to invite colleagues to contribute to this Special Issue with novel research focusing on:
- Production and fertilizer potential of agricultural and industrial organic waste materials
- Impacts of organic fertilizers on soil biological components responsible for soil health and crop nutrition, including but not limited to: microbial community structure and function, nematode foodweb structure, etc.
- Assessment of the environmental impacts (i.e., emissions of greenhouse gasses, leaching of nitrate, runoff of P), and benefits (i.e., C sequestration, soil biodiversity, soil water retention) of the use of organic fertilizers as fertilizers
- Assessment of the current pitfalls and impediments for the reintegration of organic waste materials as fertilizers into cropping systems from the farm to the regional scale.
Dr. Cristina Lazcano
Manuscript Submission Information
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- sustainable agriculture
- soil health
- organic waste
- nutrient cycling
- soil fertility
- environmental impact
- life cycle analysis (LCA)