Summary and Info
Countries with economies based on agriculture generate vast amounts of low or null value wastes which may even represent an environmental hazard. In our group, agricultural industrial wastes have been converted into value added liquid substances and materials with several aims: decreasing pollution, giving added value to wastes and working in a sustainable manner in which the wastes of an industry can be used as the raw materials of the same or others, as the “cradle to cradle” philosophy states . Sub-products from the agricultural food industry are being employed as renewable low cost raw materials in the preparation of Ecomaterials, designed for use in a number of industrial processes of great interest. Given their origin, these materials may compete with conventional ones since with this process a sustainable cycle is closed, in which the residues of one industry are used as raw materials in the same or other industries . With regards to the composition of the residues produced from agriculture, the pH of soil is of great importance, since plants can only absorb the minerals that are dissolved in water and pH is mandatory for the physical, chemical and biological properties of soil and the main cause of many agronomic questions related to nutrient assimilation [3-5]. Variations of pH modify the solubility of most elements necessary for the development of crops and also influence the microbian activity of soil, which will affect the transformation of elements that are liberated to the soil and can be assimilated to form crops or not . For example at pH lower than 6 or higher than 8 bacterian activities are lowered, the oxidation of nitrogen to nitrate is reduced and the amount of nitrogen available for plant food is decreased. However Al, Fe and manganese are more soluble at low pHs, reaching even toxic concentrations. Potassium and sulphur are easily adsorbed at pH higher than 6, calcium and magnesium between 7 and 8.5 and iron at pH lower than 6. For alGiven its multidisciplinary approach, this work is being carried out through the collaboration among national (Institute of Materials Science of Madrid (ICMM, CSIC), Institute of Catalysis (ICP, CSIC), Centre of Molecular Biology Severo Ochoa (UAM-CSIC), Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM), University at distance (UNED), University Complutense of Madrid (UPM) and international (University of Sheffield and University of Ghent) research groups, in addition to various industries interested in the transformation of their residues and or sub-products into “value added materials”, with whom various research projects have been and are being sponsored by the MICINN and CDTI. Read more...
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