200 participants from Europe, America and Asia gathered at the New York Institute of Technology to share scientific insights on recycling urban waste, restoring the soil cover of territories, urban agriculture and developing urban green infrastructure.
“Soil pollution with heavy metals is one of the main negative consequences of urbanization and industrialization, which remains relevant for regions with different climatic conditions and level of economic development. The problem of soil pollution is relevant for issues of ecology, health, engineering preparation of territories and development of territories,”said Elvira Dovletyarova, deputy chairman of the organizing committee, director of the Department of Landscape Design and Sustainable Ecosystems (LPAUE).
RUDN scientists presented studies in the analysis of sustainable functioning of megacities' green infrastructure. The studies are based on the assessment of the state of soil cover, vegetation and climatic indicators of urban ecosystems. “The methods include both traditional and new approaches based on in situ analysis, i.e. in place. The results provide a list of indicators of ecological functions and ecosystem services of urban ecosystems, ”said associate professor Vyacheslav Vasenev and junior researcher Ramilla Gadzhiagayeva, who presented the project to the participants of the symposium.
The plenary sessions were also addressed by representatives of the municipal organizations of the city of New York, the US Department of Agriculture, and leading scientists from US universities - Cornell, Columbia, and New York. Various reports of speakers raised the issues of waste recycling, the effects of soil pollution on people, ways of creating and maintaining city improvement.
All participants noted the need for joint research activities of scientists from different countries. Within the framework of the symposium sections, they outlined the main areas of interaction for further research collaborations. Research will include problems of remediation and recultivation of urban soils, collection of data for analyzing the impact of urbanization on soil cover in various megalopolises of Europe and America, and recommendations for sustainable development of urban ecosystems. Field research will take place next year in the territory of urban ecosystems of Russia together with scientists from the USA, Germany and France.
The results of the joint work are planned to be discussed at the Soil Fest next year in New York. The festival will also be organized by RUDN University and the Institute of Urban Soils of New York.
A chemist from RUDN University has developed a catalyst for the production of eugenol acetate, a substance that destroys the larvae of mosquitoes transmitting dangerous diseases, being a safe chemical for human health.
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.