Update: 19.01.2018

It can take more than 1000 years to form a centimeter of topsoil.

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The International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) is the global union of soil scientists. The objectives of the IUSS are to promote all branches of soil science, and to support all soil scientists across the world in the pursuit of their activities. This website provides information for IUSS members and those interested in soil science.

IUSS Alert 53 (September 2009)

Information for and from the global soil science community

19th World Congress of Soil Science - Call for papers now open

The 19th World Congress of Soil Science will be held in Australia, 1-6 August 2010 at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. The conference theme 'Soil Solutions for a Changing World' provides a tremendous opportunity for a broad range of presentations - we urge you to share your research, experiences and knowledge in Brisbane. Papers must be submitted by 31 October 2009 to be considered. Registration for the 19th World Congress of Soil Science will open on 31 August 2009 www.19wcss.org.au


Soil-climate change podcast

A podcast has been recorded as part of the International Year of Planet Earth on soils and climate change. The soil under our feet has a complex relationship with our warming world. Soil microbiologist Charles Rice exlpains that soil helps take carbon dioxide out of the air - it absorbs millions of tons each year. But Earth is still warming, and, as it does so, microorganisms in the soil release carbon. Charles Rice: With warmer temperatures, just like our warm bodies, the microorganisms grow faster and so they need more food, so they would feed on that organic carbon. So as they're feeding on that, then they're releasing that carbon back to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. He said that keeping carbon locked in soil also keeps soil healthy and results in better crops, and there's a multiple win situation. Hear the whole podcast here


Eijkelkamp calcimeter

The calcimeter by Eijkelkamp is suitable for the simultaneous determination of the carbonate content in 5 samples. Where possible the vulnerable glass has been replaced by synthetic materials. As hydrochloric acid is used a stable and ergonomic design was chosen. The calcimeter is delivered complete with reaction vessels and test tubes (without reagents). Approximately one hour is required per recation. Carbonates that are hard to dissolve, such as sea shells , may take more reaction time. The benefits are: Accurate measurements the easiest way;  5 flasks allow batchwise working; Rapid results; Modern tool to suit the professional lab. Click here for more information




Couple of new publications

Ground penetrating radar: theory and applications. Edited By H. Jol, Elsevier, Hardbound, 544 pages, 2008 ISBN-13: 978-0-444-53348-7. Ground-penetrating radar (GPR) is a rapidly developing field that has seen tremendous progress over the past 15 years. The development of GPR spans aspects of geophysical science, technology, and a wide range of scientific and engineering applications. It is the breadth of applications that has made GPR such a valuable tool in the geophysical consulting and geotechnical engineering industries, has lead to its rapid development, and inspired new areas of research in academia. The topic of GPR has gone from not even being mentioned in geophysical texts ten years ago to being the focus of hundreds of research papers and special issues of journals dedicated to the topic. The explosion of primary literature devoted to GPR technology, theory and applications, has lead to a strong demand for an up-to-date synthesis and overview of this rapidly developing field. Because there are specifics in the utilization of GPR for different applications, a review of the current state of development of the applications along with the fundamental theory is required. This book will provide sufficient detail to allow both practitioners and newcomers to the area of GPR to use it as a handbook and primary research reference.

Environmental geochemistry: site characterization, data analysis and case histories. Edited by B. De Vivo, H. Belkin, A. Lima. Elsevier Hardbound, 350 pages, 2008 ISBN-13: 978-0-444-53159-9. Contents: 1)Introduction. 2)The role of geochemistry in environment and health problems. 3)Regional Programs. FOREGS. Sampling methods for different media - Stream sediments, soils, waters. 4) Environmental impact of the disposal of solid by-products from waste incineration processes. 5)Household hazardous waste disposal as a pathway for environmental pollution. 6)Sampling methods for site characterization and waste disposal. 7)Site investigations of stream and groundwaters: How to avoid getting into deep water. 8) Methods of chemical analysis of organics and quality controls. 9)Data base management at regional scale. 10)Data analysis and treatment, at local scale, using GIS and GeoDAS. 11)Evaluation of background/baseline values. 12) Geochemical mapping of urban areas. Examples on the munipal soils of Napoli, Avellino, Caserta, Benevento and Salerno towns. 13) Thermodynamics of platinum, palladium, and rhodium with inorganic ligands in the environment. 14)Trace metals speciation and bioavailability in soil. 15)Environment pollution, epidemiology and Workers problems. 16)Medical Geology: Application to arsenic and fluorine poisoning in southwest Guizhou Province, China. 17)Contaminated land in Britain. 18)The US brownfields program: Case studies reflect progress and challenges. 19)Case history of site characterization in Italy: Bagnoli brownfield site.

Mycorrhizal Symbiosis, 3rd edition. By S. Smith and D. Read. Academic Press, Hardbound, 800 pages, 2008. ISBN-13: 978-0-12-370526-6. The roots of most plants are colonized by symbiotic fungi to form mycorrhiza, which play a critical role in the capture of nutrients from the soil and therefore in plant nutrition. Mycorrhizal Symbiosis is recognized as the definitive work in this area. Since the last edition was published there have been major advances in the field, particularly in the area of molecular biology, and the new edition has been fully revised and updated to incorporate these exciting new developments. Audience: Microbiologists, Applied Microbiologists, Biotechnologists, Soil mcrobiologists/scientists, Agricultural scientists, Plant scientists, Mycologists, Molecular Biologists.


Soil Biochemistry. By Konrad Haider & Andreas Schaffer. Science Publishers, 1009. ISBN 978-1-57808-579-8; 132 pages. Soils play a central role in the conversion of organic matter and element fluxes because of the large number of microorganisms present in the soil. In this book the more important processes that are driven by microbiological activity are discussed. It will be of interest to students of chemistry, biology, ecology, soil science and related areas. Researchers from these fields will profit from extended literature surveys in each chapter comprising important findings from early as well as the most recent investigations. Contents: 1. Soil and Soil Life; 2. Aerobic and Anaerobic Degradation of Monomer and Polymer Plant Constituents by Soil Microorganisms; 3. Humus and Humification; 4. Turnover of Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Sulfur in Soils and Sediments; 5. Composting and Fermentation of Organic Materials; 6. Trace Gases in Soil; 7. Heavy Metals as Pollutants: Toxicity, Environmental Aspects, Resistance and Biotechnological Aspects


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