Crop yield gaps can be partially overcome by soil sanitation strategies such as fumigation; however, there are fewer suitable fumigants available in the marketplace and growing concerns about chemical impacts in the environment and human food chain. Therefore, thermal soil sanitation has been considered for some time and microwave soil treatment has some important advantages over other thermal soil sanitation techniques, such as steam treatment. It is also apparent that microwave soil sanitation does not sterilize the soil, but favors beneficial species of soil biota making more nutrients available for better plant growth. From these perspectives, microwave soil treatment may become an important pre-sowing soil sanitation technology for high value cropping systems, allowing agricultural systems to better bridge the crop yield gap.
Part of the book: Sustainable Crop Production
Arsenic (As) contamination in soil and accumulation in food crops has raised much concern worldwide due to its phytotoxicity and possible human health risk. This study was conducted to determine whether microwave (MW) soil treatment could alleviate As phytotoxicity and reduce wheat grain As concentration or not. Experimental soils were spiked to five levels of As concentration (As-0, As-20, As-40, As-60, and As-80 mg kg–1) prior to applying three levels of MW treatment (MW-0, MW-3, and MW-6 minute). Significantly higher plant growth and grain yield and lower grain As concentration was recorded in MW treatments compared with the control treatment. For instance, significantly higher grain yield (28.95 g pot–1) and lower grain As concentration (572.03 μg kg–1) were recorded in MW-6 treatment compared with MW-0 (22.03 g pot–1 and 710.45 μg kg–1, respectively) at the same soil As concentration. Hence, MW soil treatment has the potential to alleviate As phytotoxicity and to reduce the grain As concentration. Ultimately, MW soil treatment will reduce As bioaccumulation in the human body even if wheat is grown in As contaminated soil. Nevertheless, further validation experiments are needed to explore the effectiveness of MW treatment in field conditions.
Part of the book: Wheat