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Abstract

Drainage and peat extraction may have a negative impact on existing hydrological conditions and, consequently, on the conditions of wetland ecosystems. The aim of this study was to assess human impact on the studied Trzcińskie Mokradła Peatland by comparing the concentrations and trace element (Pb, Zn, Cu, Cr and Ni) pools in the study area (extracted vs. non-extracted areas of peatland). The concentration of trace elements in organic soils and their pools were analysed in relation to their depth in the soil profiles, content of organic matter, soil pH values and the degree of decomposition of organic materials (peat, mursh). Fifteen soil profiles (90 samples) were examined. The total soil elements content was determined after digestion in a mixture of HCl+HNO3. The element pools were calculated and expressed in g m−2 of soil in 0–30 cm and 30–50 cm layers. Soils showed acidic or slightly acidic reactions. The high concentrations of Pb and Zn were mainly observed in the upper horizons. The deeper layers enriched with mineral fractions were also enriched in metals like Cr and Ni.

Abstract

Archaeological research in the area of the chateau park uncovered the relic of the Gothic church of St. Elisabeth, dated to the second half of the 13th century. It is a single-nave building with a rectangular finish (length 25 m, boat width 13 m, presbytery width 10.5 m). The church probably had an older predecessor - a wooden structure on a stone foundation, dating from the mid-13th century. At the same time, the church site was a burial place: a grave of a young woman and a 1.5-year-old child, dated 13th/14th century were found outside the presbytery wall. In the presbytery, there were 3 graves of men dating back to the 14th century. It is very likely that these are the Lords of the Wallenstein family. Archaeological research in graves in the Church of St. Elisabeth unearthed a small collection of animal bone remains. The occurrence of bones of young and mature cattle and domestic fowls, which are abundant in the archaeozoological assemblage, indicates the prevailing meat consumption of these animals. The butchering marks on their bones document removal of meat from the carcasses.

Abstract

To implement the Mehlich 3 method in Polish agro-chemical laboratories, limit values for deficiency of B, Cu, Fe, Mn and Zn in soil for wheat were developed. The values were developed on the basis of 1921 fields with wheat, evenly distributed throughout Poland. Soil samples were collected from these fields in 2016, together with the plants growing on them, at the stage of stem elongation (BBCH 30/31). The concentration of micronutrients was determined in all soil and plant samples. In addition, pH, texture, and the content of organic carbon and available phosphorus were determined in soil samples. Moreover, grain yield after wheat harvest was estimated for all fields. Limit values were developed by two independent methods: 1) the regression equation method and 2) the so-called high yield method. In the first case, the limit microelement concentration in soil was calculated from the equation describing the relationship between the bioaccumulation factor (R/G) and a specific soil feature (n=1921). The bioaccumulation factor is the quotient of the concentration of a micronutrient in a plant (R) and its concentration in the soil (G) determined by the Mehlich 3 method. The equations were constructed using the Stagraphics program. For each micronutrient, 8 models were tested in search for the equation with the highest determination coefficient r2. Limit values were calculated after substituting the critical value of microelements in the plant (R) to the selected model and transforming the equation accordingly. The basis of the second method was to separate the “high yield group” ≥7.0 t ha−1 (n=578) from the entire data set. In this group, lower quintiles for the Mehlich 3-concentration of individual microelements in soil were calculated. The lower quintiles (QU1) were taken as limit values. It was assumed that QU1 is a good indicator of the lowest micronutrient concentration in the soil at which a yield of 7.0 t ha−1 or higher can be obtained. The comparison of the values calculated with the regression equations method and the high yield method showed their similarity, which confirmed the reliability of these values. The proposed values define the limit for low microelements concentration in soil determined with the Mehlich 3 method, below which wheat fertilization with these nutrients is recommended.

Abstract

The aim of the study was to develop limit values for low microelement concentration in the soil, determined with the use of Mehlich 3 extractant for assessing their deficits in rapeseed crops. The values were prepared on the basis of 1944 fields with rapeseed, covering the whole Poland. In 2017, the samplers of Polish agro-chemical laboratories took soil samples and corresponding plant samples at the BBCH 30/31 stage. In the plant samples, the concentration of microelements was determined, and in the soil samples, apart from microelements, also pH, texture and the concentration of organic carbon and available phosphorus, were determined. Moreover, for each field, data on rapeseed yield were collected. Limit values were determined by two independent methods: 1) the method of regression equations and 2) the so-called high yield method. In the first case, the limit microelement concentration in the soil was calculated from the equation describing the relationship between the R/G bioaccumulation coefficient and a specific soil feature (n=1944). The bioaccumulation coefficient is a quotient of the concentration of a microelement in a plant (R) and its concentration in the soil determined by the Mehlich 3 (G) method. Limit values were calculated after substituting the critical concentration of microelements in the plant (R) to the equation, and subsequently, an appropriate conversion of the equation. The second method was based on the separation of a group of high yields ≥4.0 t ha−1 (n=755) from the whole data set. Then in this group, the lower quintiles (QU1) were calculated for the concentration of individual microelements in the soil determined in Mehlich 3 extract and adopted as limit values. It was found that QU1 is a good indicator of the lowest microelement concentration in the soil at which a yield of at least 4.0 t ha−1 can be obtained. The final limit values were worked out by averaging the values calculated by the equations and high yield method and their appropriate correction. In the combined soil sample collections for wheat and rapeseed (n=3865), the values were checked by evaluating the percentage of soils with microelement shortage separately for rape and wheat. The results of this evaluation were compared with the evaluation using the old system based on the 1 M HCl, which did not take into account the plant species.

Abstract

Tycho Brahe, noted Danish astronomer and founder of modern astronomy died in Prague in 1691, at the age of 54, and was buried in the Church of the Virgin Mary before Týn. In 2010, at the request of Danish authorities, his remains were exhumed and an investigation into the cause of his death was undertaken, with an aim to addressing speculations of him having been poisoned. This report contains detailed information on the process of the exhumation and results of the subsequent investigation. An anthropological analysis confirmed the authenticity of the remains, that they are actually those of Tycho Brahe, and confirmed the results of an earlier exhumation, done in 1901. Physical chemistry analysis was unable to confirm a lethal or sub-lethal dose of heavy metal poison (Hg). A detailed paleopathological analysis of the skeleton confirmed that Brahe suffered from DISH (diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis), which attends Type II diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity (the metabolic syndrome). From period documents describing Tycho Brahe’s lifestyle and his last days, it seems likely that he died of complications resulting from these conditions, today described as diseases of affluence, also referred to as “Western disease”.

Abstract

The aim of the study was to assess the transformation of humic substances during composting of biomass of energetic plants and municipal solid waste. The type of the organic material to be composted and the type of technology used affect the course of the humic substances transformation and formation of compost maturity parameters. Compost produced from the mixture of energetic willow and hay biomass contained humic substances with higher share of low-molecular fractions and lower share of humic acids in total organic carbon than those produced from municipal solid wastes. Obtained results also showed that insoluble alkali fraction plays an important role in humification process by its convertion to a new humic substances. Share of humic and fulvic fractions in relation to the total organic carbon appears to be reliable indicator of composting as a process of enhancing organic matter humification.