Mussel shells can improve acid soil properties in Galicia. (Photo: Lia Russo)
Mussel shells used to fertilize soil
Thursday, July 05, 2012, 16:40 (GMT + 9)
Researchers at the University of Madrid (UPM) proposed the reuse of mussel shells to improve acid soil chemical properties and increase their quality and fertility.
The results of an investigation performed by the Waste Assessment Group of the Department of Soil Science in ETSI of Agricultural experts confirm that the treatment of acid soils with mussel shells produces an increase in pH and a decrease of aluminum in these soils.
This finding offers great interest because it will contribute to get rid of industrial waste by reusing it to improve soil quality.
Currently, mussel shells are discarded so there are cost and aesthetic issues, the newspaper Faro de Vigo reports.
According to the experts, most soils in Galicia are acid and in many of them slurry is used in order to return nutrients to the soil.
As part of this study, researchers combined the use of (washed and ground) mussel shell with slurry and selected meadow soil with representative characteristics in terms of organic matter and pH content.
The main finding was that the amendments used resulted in increased soil pH while the aluminum in the soil exchange complex decreased.
This research has a clear implementation in Galicia, as it has a large fishing industry that generates large volumes of waste.
The mussel shell contains calcium carbonate (from 95 per cent to 99 per cent of the shell weight) and small amounts of nitrogen, sulfur, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium.
Galicia is a region where more mussels are produced, ranking it in second place worldwide, after China.
By Analia Murias