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Manju Chaudhary - Ph-student

Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, UMB.

PhD-student writes about her work and studies
on the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences.


 Manju Chaudhary, PhD-student
Manju Chaudhary, PhD-student
A country’s progress depends on its people (better if we say healthy people), most important resource of a nation. To keep this resource healthy we need to produce healthy food which contains all nutrients.

In last few decades development in most part of the world has been significant and conventional agriculture has played an important role in it. During all these years Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium has taken all our attention to produce more and more food for increasing population of the world, in this we forgot those nutrients (eg. Zinc, Iron, Copper and Manganese) which we need in very small amounts but which are equally important for human, plants and animal health. Directly or indirectly these macro and micronutrients come from soils. In conventional agriculture, micronutrients can be supplied by commercial fertilizers but in organic farming we have limited resource to fulfill the demand of micronutrients.

Deficiency of micronutrients is quite a big problem in field of agriculture research and more than 50% of world population suffers from one or other micronutrient deficiency.

My PhD work deals with availability of micronutrients Zinc (Zn), Copper (Cu) and Manganese (Mn) from organic materials and rock mineral powder.
Photo: Eija Bakken


 
Soils I have worked with come from organic farms of Romerike and Numedal (Norway) and are deficient in Copper and Zinc. I am trying to find out if this rock mineral powder, which is rich in Copper and Zinc can be a potential slow release micronutrient fertilizer in organic farming.

Generally we can get the rock mineral powder as a waste or byproduct of different mining or fertilizer industry or left over in old mines. In my case we got it from an old Copper mine in Hokksund in Norway. The biggest hindrance in use of rock powders is as well as with required micronutrients, it also contains undesirable toxic metals eg. Cadmium, Lead, and Arsenic etc. So while working with this rock powder one of my aim was not to pollute the soils. My main PhD objectives are to assess the availability of micronutrients from rock powder alone and in combination with different type of organic manure and fertilizers and how it affects plant rhizosphere activities. We have seen positive trend in availability of Copper and Zinc in some treatments, but to make sure a safe and profitable use of rock powder, more research and attention is needed in this area and it seems we have a long way to go.

Updated: 01.03.10
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- Soil