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RESEARCH ARTICLE

Review and outlook for agromineral research in agriculture and climate mitigation

Guanru Zhang A , Jinting Kang B C , Tianxing Wang D and Chen Zhu B E
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A School of Earth Sciences, Zhejiang University, 38 Zheda Road, Hangzhou 310027, China.

B Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405, USA.

C CAS Key Laboratory of Crust-Mantle Materials and Environments, School of Earth and Space Sciences, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei 230026, China.

D Jiaxing Vocational Technical College, 547 Tongxiang Avenue, Jiaxing 314036, China.

E Corresponding author. Email: chenzhu@indiana.edu

Soil Research - https://doi.org/10.1071/SR17157
Submitted: 12 June 2017  Accepted: 18 August 2017   Published online: 2 November 2017

Abstract

Agrominerals are finely ground rocks and minerals used as low-cost fertilisers, and they have received more attention in recent years as sustainable development and climate change mitigation have come to the forefront of societal concerns. Here, we summarise progress in agromineral research over the last 20 years, and discuss the challenges and opportunities of this discipline. The idea of agrominerals has been around since the early 19th century. However, widespread application is subject to economic practicality. In recent years, two big trends have dominated agromineral research. First, some global warming mitigation strategies, such as ‘enhanced chemical weathering’ and bio-energy carbon capture and storage call for the application of rock powders in arable land on a massive scale. This gives agromineral research an urgency and significance. Second, advances in knowledge of mineral weathering kinetics are poised to transform predictions of agronomic effectiveness from mere empirical studies to more quantitative evaluation. We now have a much better understanding of the factors that influence weathering and nutrient release rates. We forecast that rapid advances in some areas of biogeochemistry will enable advances in the study of agrominerals. In particular, we will be able to measure weathering and nutrient release rates at the field scale, and ultimately to predict kinetic processes of mineral dissolution or precipitation in soil–water–plant systems and the cycling of nutrients and toxic elements in agricultural land.

Additional keywords: agrogeology, agromineral, climate mitigation, enhanced weathering, kinetics.


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