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Abstract Detail

Ecological Section

Brower, MB [1], Tuberty, SR [1], Sakamachi, Y [1], Colgan, MJ [1].

An Exploration of Chicken Litter-Induced Trace Metal Phytotoxicity in Plants.

The overall goal of this study is to assess the adverse impacts of phytotoxic trace metals from long-term chicken litter application to corn and fescue. Confined animal feeding operations are having a potentially huge economic and environmental impact on local communities. The focus of this study will be the phytotoxic effects of these metals (copper, zinc, arsenic, manganese). This project will address the inherent complexities of balancing management of sustainable rural economic growth and conservation of important natural resources such as fertile bottomland farming soils for generations to come. I propose two main hypotheses: H1: crop plants exposed to supplemented levels (representative of 40-80 years into the future) of metals will exhibit acute and chronic phytotoxic biomarkers of exposure, H2: with continued application of trace metals to farm soils, productivity will be unsustainable in the near future. I will determine the current concentrations of trace metals in the soils of fields amended long-term (20-30 years) with chicken litter. Next I will prepare soil on a local farmland which will be planted with corn and fescue. Observations will be made and recorded throughout the life cycle of the plants. Both acute and chronic assessment techniques will be utilized. Briefly, these measurements include the following endpoints: percent seedling germination, percent seedling emergence, root/shoot length, biomass and leaf condition. The bioaccumulation of metals in crop plant tissues will then be quantified. If my hypotheses are borne out, this research will determine the adverse effects of the spreading of chicken litter on agricultural communities. This extensive interdisciplinary study will serve as a model to other Atlantic coast and Southeastern counties and states with large poultry operations that may wish to consider implementation of alternatives to current litter management strategies to create a more sustainable culture of farming productivity and care for the environment.

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1 - Appalachian State University, Biology, 572 Rivers Street, Boone, North Carolina, 28608, USA

Heavy Metals
chicken litter
agronomic species

Presentation Type: Poster:Posters for BSA Sections
Session: P2
Location: Event Tent/Cliff Lodge
Date: Tuesday, July 28th, 2009
Time: 5:30 PM
Number: P2EC004
Abstract ID:90