Silicate Rock Powder Improves Yield and Carbon Capture in Northeast China's Paddy Fields

Release Time:2024-04-02 Big Small

A new study has shown a promising way to improve rice yields and benefit carbon capture in northeastern China. The research, published in the journal Plant and Soil, investigated the use of a naturally occurring mineral powder called wollastonite.

Rice is a vital food source for over half the world's population, making it crucial for global food security. Any advancements in rice production can have a significant impact. Scientists have been exploring ways to enhance rice yields and quality, while also considering the environmental impact of these methods.

Silicate minerals are naturally occurring rocks with potential benefits for agriculture. In theory, applying these minerals to rice fields could improve soil conditions, leading to better yields and quality of rice. However, research on the practical application of these minerals in real-world rice paddies has been limited.

To address this gap in knowledge, researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Northeast University teamed up for a field experiment. They used a safe and non-toxic form of silicate mineral called wollastonite powder in controlled rice paddies. The experiment compared rice grown with and without the addition of wollastonite powder.

The study found the powder helped improve soil conditions by raising its pH (acidity level) and significantly increasing the amount of available silicon, a nutrient beneficial for rice plants. Rice plants treated with wollastonite powder showed a significant increase in yield - a 12% boost overall! Additionally, the number of productive shoots and grains per plant also increased.

The study also observed an increase in the amount of carbon stored in the soil's surface layer, indicating that wollastonite powder may promote soil carbon sequestration, which benefits the environment.

This field study suggests that adding wollastonite powder to rice fields in northeastern China has the potential to be a win-win situation for both farmers and the environment.  Further research is needed, but these initial findings are promising for developing a sustainable method to improve rice production while promoting soil health.


YUE Qian

Institute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Tel: 86-24-83970317