Skip to main content

You are currently in guest mode. Log in or register to fully use the HOOU platform.

Your advantages when registering:

  • You can use chat and forums to exchange ideas.
  • We will confirm your participation in some courses.

Topic outline

  • General

  • Overview

    edu sharing object

    Welcome to SOILutions

    The SOILutions project aims at making soil health education accessible to a wider audience, in addition to students and researchers of soil and environmental sciences. In this project, experiments on various soil related challenges and solutions will be conducted. These include soil salinity, microplastics pollution and other soil health improvement strategies. The experiments are accessible in open domain through the HOOU platform in the form of text and video content. The insights gained in this project can form the basis for research projects for researchers and project work and theses for students. The documentation from the project can also serve as a laboratory guideline for laboratory-based modules. This project and its output will be integrated into the modules ‘Water and Environment: Theory and Application’ and ‘Emerging Trends in Environmental Engineering’ offered by the Institute of Geo-Hydroinformatics at the Hamburg University of Technology TUHH.

  • 1. Soil salinity and plant growth

    In this experiment, the effect of soil salinity on plant growth will be demonstrated to the students and the online audience of the HOOU project SOILutions through the research-based learning approach. Soil salinity is a major worldwide problem affecting 20% of the global agricultural land, and this number is expected to rise to 50% by the year 2050, under the business as usual scenario. Soil being the natural resource necessary for the production of 99% of human food, soil salinity is an existential threat to humanity. In order to address this issue, a proper understanding and a wider acknowledgement of the problem is necessary, which is the aim of this project. Two plant species—common garden cress and common bush beans—will be under focus in this experiment. While as beans were selected by virtue of it being a source of nutrition worldwide, garden cress was selected for its fast growth dynamics, which makes a comparison easier.

  • 2. Mitigation of salinity effects on plant growth

    In this experiment, the use of organic compost as a mitigation strategy in saline soils is demonstrated. As demonstrated in the previous experiment, soil salinity has a negative effect on plant growth. In the practical scenario, this means soil salinity affects food security and other ecosystem services provided by soil and plants. There are different reasons soil salinity has been attributed to, which include the excessive use of agrochemicals and in some cases the use of saline water for irrigation. However, with respect to ameliorating soil salinity and mitigating its effects on plant growth, research is ongoing. Many options have been explored, which include phytoremediation of soils using different plants or the use of organic additives to the soil. This experiment is aimed at inculcating an understanding of one of the potential solutions to this problem. In this regard, we demonstrate the use of organic compost as a means to overcome the effects of soil salinity on plant growth. As in the previous experiment, wo plant species—common garden cress and common bush beans—will be under focus in this experiment.

  • 3. Microplastics in soil-plant environment

    In this experiment, the effect of microplastics on plant growth is demonstrated. In the previous experiments, we demonstrated the negative effect of soil salinity on plant growth. This experiment deals with another emerging soil challenge, which is contamination with microplastics. The presence of microplastics in marine and aquatic environments has been widely studied but the effect of microplastics in soil environment and its effect on plant growth is an emerging field of study. In this experiment, the effect of different microplastic concentrations was examined, in presence of different salt concentrations. Common bush beans were used as the plant specimen in this experiment and the experiment was conducted with two different microplastic concentrations.

  • Quiz and further reading

    You can conclude this E-Learning course by testing your knowledge with a quiz and you can read more about these topics from the reading list we have prepared for you.

  • Wrap-Up