Soil Matter(s) - More Attention Please!

In the AULA, the poster session started with only a handful of patient Tropentag participants as the plenary session dragged on without end. After a few posters were presented, it got more and more crowded, to the point that standing two meters away from the speaker made it impossible to hear, much less understand. Conversations among the gaggle watching made it even harder. Camera and t-shirt made it clear I was there on business, and people made way so I could capture the the main content.


Based on the presented posters during the first session, soil and its components (it's a 4-dimensional object!) play a vital role in sustainable food production and therefore our future. The young researchers tried to find ways to use the many qualities of soil. Vitalij from the Juelich Institute had researched the effects of recycling sugarcane bagasse, a byproduct of industrial processing, when applied in soybean cultivation to increase nutrient availability and uptake.

Emmanuel is on another track, he wants to tackle the causes of erosion through application of corn cob ash and seems to have been successful in his approach. Out of all the speakers, he had the most vivid presentation and got the attention of the audience, but there was not enough time to fully elaborate on his research. postersoil4

Another poster worth mentioning is the one of Ivonne. A young scientist studying in the Netherlands, she presented her bachelor thesis surrounded by PhD students, and was already performing like a professional. Her focus was on how land use alters the activity of nitrifiers in the soil. "First I was nervous, but knowing that already my contribution to science is appreciated at such a conference and being heard encourages me to keep on going" explains Ivonne after her four minute long research introduction. Further, she stressed that it was a useful and thrilling experience, which will help her become a successful scholar. "It was almost fun".


I was pleased to see later in the session that so many people were interested in my favorite agricultural field, soil, but I wished it was in a quieter space so as to enhance the exchange of knowledge. Soil matter - it matters!


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