New Material Developed for Remediating Soil from Livestock Farms
Scientists have developed a new material that effectively remediates soil co-contaminated with heavy metals and antibiotics, a common problem due to livestock farming.
Livestock farming pollutants contribute heavily to the accumulation of heavy metals, antibiotics, and their resistance genes in farmland soil. This co-contamination poses a significant threat to ecological and environmental safety. However, current remediation techniques fall short in cold regions, highlighting the need for innovative solutions.
Researchers at the Institute of Applied Ecology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (IAE, CAS), led by Dr. GONG Zongqiang, tackled this challenge. Utilizing livestock and poultry farm soil from Liaoning Province, their Environmental Ecological Engineering Innovation Group investigated the migration patterns of heavy metals, antibiotics, and resistance genes. By assessing the ecological risks associated with livestock and poultry farming pollution, they developed a novel remediation material: Herbaspirillum-fungus chaff-biochar. This innovative combination efficiently remediates co-contaminated soil even in low-temperature conditions.
To gain deeper insights, the Innovation Group employed high-throughput sequencing and gene chip technologies. This analysis revealed the mechanisms by which Herbaspirillum huttiense and native microorganisms collaborate to reduce heavy metals, antibiotics, and induced resistance genes. The research further clarified the crucial link between environmental factors and microbial communities during the remediation process, ultimately enhancing our understanding of biochar-based microbial materials in (heavy metals and antibiotics) co-contaminated soil remediation.
The developed material has already been successfully applied in pilot projects for poultry farm soil remediation in Xiuyan County and Haicheng City, Anshan, Liaoning Province. Moreover, two invention patents (2023) have been granted for the bacteria and composite materials, signifying their potential for widespread adoption in remediating co-contaminated agricultural land.