RUDN Agrarian and Technological Institute hosted Global Soil Map 2017 international conference where experts from the USA, Australia, Brazil, France, Holland, China and Russia proposed various solutions to the problems of global digital soil mapping and shared their elaborations in the theory and methods of soil mapping.
Nur Kirabaev, RUDN Vice-Rector for research noted the topicality of the conference in the digital era. The last soil map was made in 1985. New technologies and data allow elaborating a new one and to this end the Global Soil Map consortium has been set up.
Methods and approaches to making a new map have been discussed at international conferences and seminars – in Orleans (France) in 2013, Ottawa (Canada) in 2015 and Moscow, RUDN in 2017.
«The latest soil map is pretty outdated. We have been working on the new one for 6 years and are planning to finish in the early 20’s. The map will be available free on the Internet for everyone», says Igor Savin, RUDN professor and academician of RAS.
One of the challenges of soil mapping is lack of specialists who know digital technologies and speak foreign languages, and the problem is yet to be solved.
Participants of the conference- experts from the University of Sydney, (ТОP-50 QS), University of New South Wales, (TOP-50 QS), University of Wisconsin, (TOP-60 QS), Wageningen University, (TOP-150 QS) and ISRIC – World Soil Information foundation, MSU, RUDN, Timiryazev Academy and Dokuchaev Soil Institute worked in four sections.
RUDN soil scientists have revealed a direct correlation between the rate of soil formation of carbon dioxide, called CO2 emissions, and the content of microbial biomass in it. It is known that CO2 emission from soil is mainly conditioned by respiration of soil microorganisms and plant roots. The more CO2 soil emits, the more microbial biomass it usually contains. It was shown that CO2 emission by chernozem of different ecosystems (or different types of land use) correlates with the content of microbial biomass, and most closely with the rate of its microbial respiration. And the soil with good microbial properties has the “best quality”, is more fertile, provides the highest yield of crops and other plant biomass.
A RUDN chemist has synthesized a catalyst for the production of gamma-valerolactone — an energy-intensive “green” biofuel. The catalyst based on zirconium dioxide and zeolite has shown high efficiency in converting the waste of wood plant materials — methyl levulinate — to gamma-valerolactone.
Biochemists from RUDN University determined which substances in peach leaves provide the antioxidant effect their extract has. They investigated the composition of the powders obtained from leaves of several varieties of peach and found that high polyphenol content correlates with antioxidant properties. The results will help start production of antioxidants from natural sources.