Monday, 20 August 2012

Mussel shells used to fertilize soil

Fish Information and Services reports on a study by University of Madrid researchers which has found that treating acid soils with mussel shells can increase their pH and reduce levels of aluminium in the soil.

The reports explains that the findings offer great potential in demonstrating novel ways of getting rid of industrial waste by reusing it to improve soil quality. Currently, mussel shells are discarded so there are cost and aesthetic issues. According to the experts, most soils in the Spanish study area are acid and in many of them slurry is used in order to return nutrients to the soil. Much of the work was done in the Spanish region of Galicia, which has a large fishing industry generating substantial quantities of waste.

Mussel shell contains calcium carbonate (from 95 per cent to 99 per cent of the shell weight) and small amounts of nitrogen, sulfur, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium, all of which are beneficial to the soil and plant life.