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What is bioremediation and how is it important to contaminated soil?

Soil bioremediationBioremediation is the use of either naturally-occurring or deliberately introduced microorganisms to consume and break down environmental pollutants in order to clean contaminated soil.

As a society we are faced with tracts of land which have been contaminated but are now being turned into housing estates.  Obviously it is critical that these sites are made as safe as possible.  One way this is done is to remove the topsoil and then cap it with clean soil prior to being released for housing.  The removed material is often treated by professional companies who specialise in decontaminating the soil, but what about the underlying contaminated soil which has not been cleaned?

In these cases, some people are advised to grow vegetables in raised beds to avoid the contaminated soil, however we should not accept this as the norm, and you don’t want your fruit trees or vegetables absorbing these contaminants. Unfortunately, some of the plants which are the best at taking in contaminants like heavy metals are leafy vegetables and root crops.

I believe that land should not be made available for urban housing unless it has been decontaminated to a level which does not require the use of raised garden beds, but unfortunately this is not always the case.

If you’re worried, you can get your soil tested by Vegesafe at Macquarie University, who test for heavy metals, but what do you do when you’re soil isn’t safe? Unfortunately your choices are limited – raised beds and bringing in clean soil to cover the contaminated area are solutions that should to be used, but you can also remediate the soil using bioremediation.

GOGO JuiceSo how does this type of remediation work? Once heavy metals are in the soil they are very difficult to remove. They don’t break down, but plants and microbes can immobilise them or turn them into less toxic compounds.  Heavy metals can be absorbed onto microbial surfaces or they can be acted upon by microbes to turn them into potentially safer, less toxic states.

Some plants also are very good at trapping heavy metals, thereby making them less available for your vegetables.  Although this is not a perfect solution, it is a way in which you can reduce the heavy metal burden.

Obviously having lots or organic material and microbes in the soil and by using GOGO Juice is the way to get things moving. We know active and diverse soil microbiology is essential for all healthy gardens. Using microbes gives you the ability to reduce the heavy metal load and therefore acts as a safety net if you are in an area of heavy metal contamination.

About GOGO Juice – GOGO Juice is literally teeming with beneficial micro-biology and is essentially a pro-biotic for your soil and plants. GOGO Juice combines the “catalystic” power of providing a wide diversity of beneficial bacteria and fungi with the well documented benefits of applying kelp and humates. Applications of GOGO Juice provide a huge boost of the living micro-biology necessary for your soil and plants to perform at their optimum level, increasing their ability to resist pest and disease and to withstand &/or recover from, heat stress and frost.

 

It is available at Bunnings, Mitre 10, Home Timber & Hardware, Stratco and all good garden centres.

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