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Climate change and soil: biotechnologies for the restoration of degraded soils and the fight against desertification

Alessandra Adessi 
Department of Agriculture, Food, Environment and Forestry (DAGRI) - Microbiology Section -

February 09, 2022 (11:30-12:30)
Webinar Link: https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/626352357

Abstract: In arid and semiarid environments, 70% of the soil surface is colonized by biocrusts, a mosaic of phototrophic microorganisms, fungi, heterotrophic bacteria, lichens, and bryophytes. Biocrusts are of high importance for the maintenance of the steady state of ecosystems subjected to abiotic stresses: they improve soil stability, reduce wind and water erosion and control hydrological processes and water distribution. In addition, their onset determines the accumulation of nutrients, gases, and water in the uppermost soil layers. Being of primary ecological importance, biocrusts are considered a reliable index of soil health, while the loss of biocrusts can result in a significant downturn in environmental status and favor the increase in abiotic stress levels. Biotechnological techniques based on the use of microorganisms as soil inoculants are regarded as promising potential tools to improve soil quality and counteract soil degradation in disturbed dryland areas. In recent years, inoculation-based techniques utilizing exopolysaccharide (EPS) producing cyanobacteria for the induction of biocrusts have proved to be a viable and sustainable pathway to increase soil biomass and fertility, and to favor soil stabilization. The success of inoculation strategies depends on the inoculant’s physiology, but also on the ability of the practitioner to identify and control, with appropriate technical approaches in each case study, those environmental factors that most influence the inoculant settlement and its ability to develop biocrusts

Author's Info: https://www.unifi.it/p-doc2-2019-0-A-2c303a2c3928-0.html

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