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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Dust in the Wind

Author
item Kennedy, Ann

Submitted to: Resource Journal of Agricultural Engineering
Publication Type: Trade Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 1, 1997
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: In dryland agriculture, wind erosion is a major source of soil loss. Wind erosion reduces the productivity of prime farmland, and causes air pollution which can adversely impact on- and off-site economics. Air quality problems are mainly unresolved because current technology often does not enable identification of the nonpoint sources of pollution where control measures are needed. It is essential to determine the source of the dust material before corrective measures can be applied. We found that agricultural soils exhibited unique biological patterns depending on their origin. These techniques can be used for all types of displaced soil, whether they be carried by wind or water. Biological assessment of soil particles is a powerful tool to help in the assessment of control measures to reduce wind erosion. This new technology will help target nonpoint as well as point sources, and provide information to help in developing policies to control dust pollution that are fair to the public, farmers, developers and other land users.

Technical Abstract: Wind erosion is a dynamic process, the result of several diverse factors which include not only geologic and climatic influences, but human activity as well. In dryland agriculture, wind erosion is a major source of soil resource depletion. Wind erosion reduces the productivity of prime farmland, and causes air pollution which can adversely impact on- and off-site economics. One of the major problems in air quality assessment is the determination of the origin or source of the particles trapped in receptors. Air quality problems are mainly unresolved because current technology often does not enable identification of the nonpoint sources of pollution where control measures are needed. It is essential to determine the source of the dust material before corrective measures can be applied. Agricultural soils exhibited unique patterns depending on their origin. These investigations illustrate the use of molecular technology such as fatty acid or nucleic acid analysis to identify displaced soil material. These techniques can be used for all types of displaced soil, whether they be carried by wind or water.

Last Modified: 11/28/2014
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