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Assessing multiple novel tracers to improve the understanding of the contribution of agricultural farm-waste to diffuse water pollution

By S.R. Granger, R. Bol, L. Dixon, P.S. Naden, G.H. Old, J.K. Marsh, Gary Bilotta, R.E. Brazier, S.M. White and P.M. Haygarth

Abstract

A study was undertaken on drained and undrained 1 ha grassland lysimeters to assess the effectiveness of multiple novel tracing techniques in understanding how agricultural slurry waste moves from land to water. Artificial fluorescent particles designed to mimic the size and density of organic slurry particles were found to move off the grassland via inter-flow (surface + lateral through-flow) and drain-flow. Where both pathways were present the drains carried the greater number of particles. The results of the natural fluorescence and δ<sup>13</sup>C of water samples were inconclusive. Natural fluorescence was higher from slurry-amended lysimeters than from zero-slurry lysimeters, however, a fluorescence decay experiment suggested that no slurry signal should be present given the time between slurry application and the onset of drainage. The δ<sup>13</sup>C values of more than 0.7 µm and less than 0.7 µm material in drainage were varied and unrelated to discharge. The mean value of more than 0.7 µm δ<sup>13</sup>C in water from the drain-flow pathways was higher from the lysimeter which had received naturally enriched maize slurry compared to the lysimeter which received grass slurry indicating a contribution of slurry-derived material. Values of less than 0.7 µm δ<sup>13</sup>C from the same pathway, however, produced counter intuitive trends and may indicate that different fractions of the slurry have different δ<sup>13</sup>C values

Topics: F850 Environmental Sciences
Publisher: Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC Publishing)
Year: 2010
DOI identifier: 10.1039/b915929k
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.brighton.ac.uk:7442

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