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Bias in aggregate geometry and properties after disintegration and drying procedures, Siebers, Nina, Abdelrahman Hamada, Krause Lars, and Amelung Wulf , Geoderma, 2018/3/1/, Volume 313, p.163 - 171, (2018) AbstractWebsite

Isolation and drying soil microaggregates and their building units are of crucial importance when studying their structure and function within different soil management systems. Our aim was to evaluate how different drying techniques preserve small aggregate building units after different disintegration steps. After applying fast wetting, slaking, or ultrasonic dispersion at 440 J mL− 1 to Cambisol topsoils under either long-term forest, grassland, or arable soil management, aggregate-size distributions were assessed using fast image analyses after optical particle-size assessment prior and after air- and freeze-drying. Microaggregates isolated by dry-sieving served as control. While ultrasonic dispersion significantly disintegrated soil aggregates into smaller units, slaking in water did not. Intriguingly, freeze-drying preserved the aggregate size distribution fairly well, with a reaggregation ranging between 1.2 and 10.1%. In contrast, air-drying led to substantial reaggregation of particles ranging between 20.4 and 44.9%. However, freeze-drying also led to slight deformation of particles and also to a redistribution of elements between size-fractions, the extent of which being different for the samples under different land-use. We conclude that ultrasonic treatment followed by freeze-drying is suitable to preserve the correct aggregate size of at least Cambisols, but the properties of the secondary particles may still not reflect true geometric forms and chemical properties.

Carbohydrates and Amino Compounds as Short-Term Indicators of Soil Management, Abdelrahman, Hamada, Cocozza Claudio, Olk Dan, Ventrella Domenico, and Miano Teodoro , CLEAN - Soil Air Water · October 2016, Volume 45, Issue 1, p.1–8, (2017)
Growth Responses of Organic Tomato Seedlings to N Liquid Fertilizers and Compost-Amended Growing Media, Abdelrahman, Hamada, Ceglie Francesco, Awad Fatma, and Tittarelli Fabio , Compost Science and Utilization , Volume 25, Issue 1, p.62–69, (2017)
Effects of Recent Forest Clearcut on Particulate Organic Matter, Abdelrahman, Hamada, WIEKENKAMP Inge, BERNS Anne E., UNGER Kirsten, LEHNDORFF Eva, HOFMANN Diana, KUZYAKOV Yakov, and BOl Roland , The 18th International Conference of the International Humic Substances Society, Kanazawa, Japan, (2016) abdelrahman_etal2016l_1145.pdf
Historical charcoal additions potentially improve stability of soil organic carbon due to altered particulate carbon fractions, HOFMANN, Diana, Steffen Bernhard, Abdelrahman Hamada, Disko Ulrich, and Borchard Nils , The 18th Conference of the International Humic Substances Society, , Kanazawa, Japan, (2016)
Molecular Level Characterization of Sequentially Extracted Labile SOM Fractions, Abdelrahman, Hamada, HOFMANN Diana, Berns Anne, Cocozza Claudio, Olk Dan, BOl Roland, and Miano Teddy , The 18th International Conference of the Int. Humic Substances Society, Kanazawa, Japan, (2016)
Occurrence and abundance of carbohydrates and amino compounds in sequentially extracted labile soil organic matter fractions, Abdelrahman, Hamada, Olk Dan, Dinnes Dana, Ventrella Domenico, Miano Teodoro, and Cocozza Claudio , Journal of Soils and Sediments, Volume 16, Issue 10, p. 2375–2384, (2016) AbstractWebsite


The study aimed to describe the carbohydrates and amino compounds content in soil, the light fraction (LF), the >53 μm particulate organic matter (POM), and the mobile humic acid (MHA) fraction and to find out whether the carbohydrates and amino compounds can be used to explain the origin of SOM fractions.

Materials and methods

Soil samples were collected from two agricultural fields managed under organic farming in southern Italy. The LF, the POM, and the MHA were sequentially extracted from each soil sample then characterized. Seven neutral sugars and 19 amino compounds (amino acids and amino sugars) were determined in each soil sample and its correspondent fractions.

Results and discussion

The MHA contained less carbohydrate than the LF or the POM but its carbohydrates, although dominated by arabinose, were relatively with larger microbial contribution as revealed by the mannose/xylose ratio. The amino compounds were generally less in the LF or the POM than in the MHA, while the fungal (aspartic and serine) and bacterial (alanine and glycine) amino acids were larger in the MHA than in the LF or the POM, underlining the microbial contribution to the MHA. Results from both sites indicated that total carbohydrates content decreased moving from the LF (younger fraction) to the MHA (older fraction), which seems to follow a decomposition continuum of organic matter in the soil-plant system.


The study showed that the MHA is a labile humified fraction of soil C due to its content of carbohydrates and concluded that the content of carbohydrates and amino compounds in the LF, the POM and the MHA can depict the nature of these fractions and their cycling pattern and response to land management.

Elemental characterization of wild edible plants from countryside and urban areas, Renna, Massimiliano, Cocozza Claudio, Gonnella Maria, Abdelrahman Hamada, and Santamaria Pietro , Food Chemistry, Volume 177, p.29–36, (2015) Abstractelemental_characterization_of_wild_edible_plants_from_countryside_and_urban_areas.pdfWebsite

Abstract: Wild edible plants (WEP) represent a nutritious and important food source in many countries. In this study the content of 13 elements (Na, K, Ca, Mg, Fe, Mn, Cu, Zn, Cr, Co, Cd, Ni and Pb) in 11 different genotypes of WEP was determined by inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectroscopy. Each genotype was collected from the inner countryside and from fields near the highways of the metropolitan area of Bari (Apulia region). The elements intake by the consumption of potential serving sizes of WEP was also evaluated and discussed.Independently from the harvesting area, Borago officinalis and Papaver rhoeas could be considered good sources of Mn and Fe, respectively. Amaranthus retroflexus and Sinapis arvensis may contribute to an adequate intake for Ca, while Portulaca. oleracea may be a good source of Mg. In contrast, the Pb content in Plantago lagopus (1.40 mg kg-1 FW) and A. retroflexus (0.33 mg kg-1 FW) - both harvested from the inner part of the countryside (IPC) areas - was over the maximum level fixed by the in EC regulation 1881/2006. The Cd content of A. retrof

Changes in Amino Acids Content in Humic Acids Repetitively Extracted From Peat And Sod-Podzolic Soils, Vialykh, E. A., Ilarionov S. A., Abdelrahman H. M., and Vialykh I. A. , Canadian Journal of Soil Science, Volume 94, Issue 5, p. 575-583, (2014) AbstractWebsite

Amino acids (AAs) and peptides are thought to be part of humic acids (HAs) but debate whether they are an integral part of the HAs is still going. Humic acids sequentially extracted from peat and sod-podzolic soil were analyzed for their AAs content, elemental composition and by FTIR spectroscopy. Extracted HAs were hydrolyzed in 6 M HCl for 16 h for AAs release, which was detected by capillary electrophoresis system. Alanine, arginine, sum of aspartic acid and asparagine, sum of cysteic acid and cysteine, sum of glutamic acid and glutamine, glycine, histidine, leucine and isoleucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, proline, serine, threonine, tyrosine, valine were identified. The total content of hydrolysable AAs in sod-podzol HAs increased by 6.2–8.2% with increasing the extraction cycles while an inverse tendency was observed for AAs released from peat HAs. Moreover, individual AAs expressed as percentages of total AAs were constant values with coefficients of variation lower than 20% for the studied HAs.

Ecological Intensification Through Nutrient Recycling and Composting in Organic Farming., Ceglie, F. G., and Abdelrahman H. M. , Composting for Sustainable Agriculture, (2014) Abstractchapter.pdf

In   organic   agriculture   fertilizers   are   permitted   in   organic   forms,   as defined   by   regulation.   Mineralization   of   organic   fertilizers   is   a   biological   decomposition   that   release   plants’   available   nutrients;;   hence   soil   microbial   communities are   vital   in   the   organic   cropping   systems.   Composting   microorganisms   can   work   for   the   farmer’s   benefit   recycling   agricultural   organic   wastes   into   materials   that   contribute   to   healthy   and   biologically   active   soil.   Composting   process   has   been   deeply  described  to  highlight  the  link  among  starting  mixture,  process  factors  and  final  resulting  compost.  Composting  and  crop  residues  incorporation  are  fundamental  to  recycle  resources  at  farm  level  to  improve  the  nutrients  use  efficiency  and  to decrease  the  off-­farm  input  needs.  In  the  organic  farming  a  balanced  combination  of compost  application  and  crop  residues  incorporation  increases  the  microbial  carbon use   efficiency,   which   regulates   the   soil   organic   matter   decomposition   and   nutrients  mineralization  resulting  both  to  increase  the  yield  and  to  decrease  the  negative impact  on  the  environment.

A combined approach of geostatistics and geographical clustering for delineating homogeneous zones in a durum wheat field in organic farming, M., Diacono, D. De Benedetto, A. Castrignanò, P. Rubino, C. Vitti, H.M. Abdelrahman, and D. Sollitto , Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences , (2013) AbstractWebsite

Agricultural practices need to be adapted to variable field conditions to increase farmers' profitability and environmental protection, so contributing to sustainability of farm management. This study proposes a combined approach of multivariate geostatistics and non-parametric clustering to delineate homogeneous zones that could be potentially managed with the same strategy. In a durum wheat field of Southern Italy, in organic farming, some soil physical and chemical properties (electrical conductivity; pH; exchangeable bases; total nitrogen; total organic carbon; available phosphorous), elevation and the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index were determined and interpolated by using geostatistics.
The clustering approach, applied to the (co)kriged estimates of the variables, produced the delineation of four sub-field zones. A significant relation between soil fertility and yield was not found in such zones. Despite this, the proposed approach has the potential to be used in future applications of precision agriculture. Further work could focus on site-specific nitrogen fertilization with suited machinery.

Integrated physical-chemical procedure for soil organic carbon fractionation and characterization during transition to organic farming, Abdelrahman, H. M., Olk D., Cocozza C., Venterella D., Montemurro F., and Miano T. , Functions of natural organic matter in changing environment, China, (2013) Abstract

Two field experiments, in the south of Italy, were established in 2009 to study and characterize SOM during transition to organic farming. Experiments included a cereal/leguminous rotation fertilized with permitted amendments with three field replicates. A sequential fractionation procedure was used to separate different SOM fractions: light fraction (LF), two size classes of particulate organic matter (POM), mobile humic acid (MHA) and Ca-bound humic acid (CaHA). Isolated fractions were quantified and analyzed for their C and N content and carbohydrates and amino compounds composition. The masses of the isolated fractions increased during 2-year course, with noticeable increases in LF and POM. Moreover LF and POM were found more responsive than MHA to treatment and crop. The xylose/mannose ratio explained that MHA-carbohydrates were mainly of microbial origin while LF- and POM-carbohydrates were of plant origin. Amino compounds constituted up to 30% of total soil N and were found to be more responsive to seasonal variation than to agronomic practices.

Compost Based Growing Media for Organic Melon Seedlings Production, Abdelrahman, H. M., Ceglie F. G., Erriquens F. G., Verrastro V., Rivera C. M., and Tittarelli F. , Acta Horticulturae, Volume 933, p.99-106, (2012) AbstractWebsite

Two types of compost were produced at the experimental compost facility of
the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Bari (IAMB). The green waste compost (GWC) was composed of olive pruning and broccoli residues, and mixed waste compost (MWC) was composed of olive pruning and bovine manure. Both composts have alkaline pH, acceptable salinity content and low C/N ratio. They were evaluated as components of growing media in partial substitution of Sphagnum peat for organic melon seedlings production. A greenhouse trial was carried out to evaluate the composts as a peat substitute for melon seedlings’ growth. Treatments, differentiated on the basis of the volume percentage of both composts, were compared to the control (a mixture of peat, coconut fiber and perlite). Compost-based substrates were analyzed for physical, physicochemical and chemical parameters (bulk density, porosity, pH, EC, nutrients content, etc.). In accordance with the guidelines of organic production, all treatments were fertilized, at the beginning of the trial, with guano. At transplant stage of nursery trial, biometric parameters and nutrient contents of shoots were measured. Compost addition has affected the chemical and physical characteristics of the media. Even though significant differences were observed, recorded values were in the range of acceptability for growing media. In terms of performance, seedling growth in treatments containing 30 and 50% of composts was significantly higher than in control. In terms of peat substitution, good results were obtained even though 10% of peat was used in the tested media.

Fractionation and Characterization of soil organic carbon during transition to organic farming, Abdelrahman, H. M. , Bari, Italy, (2012) Abstract

The transition from conventional to organic farming is the most difficult period facingorganic growers. Total soil organic carbon (SOC) might not be a suitable tool to track the changes in organically based soil fertility within a 2- to 3-year transition period. Labile fractions that are important for nutrient cycling and supply are likely to be controlled by management to a much greater extent than is total soil organic matter (SOM).!Isolation and characterization of labile fractions are likely to better show the effects of management on SOM and better provide more information on fertility status. Two field experiments were established in 2009 in the south of Italy, at Foggia and Metaponto, to study the changes in SOM pools during the transition to organic farming. Experiments were a cereal/leguminous crop rotation under treatments of amendments (compost and fertilizers) permitted in organic farming performed in triplicate replication. Soils were sampled at the beginning of the project and after each crop harvest in 2010 and 2011. A sequential fractionation procedure was used to separate different SOM-fractions: light fraction (LF), two size classes of particulate organic matter (POM), mobile humic acid (MHA) fraction and Ca-bound humic acid (CaHA) fraction. Isolated fractions were quantified and analyzed for their contents of C and N. Soil, LF, POM and MHA were characterized for their contents of seven carbohydrates and amino compounds, namely 19 amino acids (AAs) and two amino sugars. Masses of the fractions increased during the 2-year course with noticeable increases in the LF and POM. Compost application contributed to significantly greater quantities of LF, POM and MHA than did fertilizer application. Carbohydrate contents, over the 2-year scale, decreased in LF while it increased noticeably in POM and slightly in the MHA fraction. Amino compounds constituted up to 30% of total soil N with a major contribution of the humified fractions, MHA and CaHA. The obtained results recommend inclusion of leguminous crops in crop rotation and application of compost for building up soil fertility during the transition to organic farming. The introduced fractionation procedure is recommended for studying SOM in short-term studies.

An integrated physical-chemical procedure to monitor soil organic carbon changes in short-term studies, Abdelrahman, H. M., Olk D. c, Cocozza C., and Miano T. , 4th International congress, EUROSOIL 2–6 July 2012, Bari, Italy, p.1619, (2012)
Labile Soil organic carbon fractionation and characterization during transition to organic farming, Abdelrahman, H. M., Cocozza C., Olk D., Vonella A. V., and Montemurro F. P. , 4th International congress, EUROSOIL 2–6 July 2012, Bari, Italy , p.1367, (2012)
Posidonia-based Compost as a Peat Substitute for Lettuce Transplant Production, Mininni, C., Santamaria P., Abdelrahman H. M., Cocozza C., Miano T., Montesano F. F., and Parente A. , HortScience, Volume 47, Issue 10, p.1438-1444, (2012) AbstractWebsite

Posidonia [Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile] is a marine phanerogam endemic of the Mediterranean Sea that grows all along the coast forming extensive underwater meadows. Senescent posidonia leaves, together with fibers (residues of rhizomes and decomposed leaves), periodically accumulate along Mediterranean beaches, covering vast areas of coast. Removal and disposal of these large volumes of plant biomasses represent a high cost for local administrations. Therefore, in this experiment, beached residues of posidonia were composted with olive pruning and green wastes with the objective to assess the efficacy of posidonia-based compost (63% on a volume basis) as a peat replacement. The compost was then mixed with a peat-based commercial substrate at rates of 0% (C0, pure peat-based commercial substrate tested as control), 25% (C25), 50% (C50), 75% (C75), and 100% (C100, pure posidonia-based compost) v/v. Mixtures were used as growing media to produce lettuce seedlings for transplant. Two lettuce cultivars (8511RZ and Satine) were tested. Main physical and chemical properties of the five growing media, shoot and root fresh and dry weight, leaf area, root morphology, and elemental leaf tissue composition were studied. Growing media containing posidonia-based compost, C25 and C50 in particular, showed good physical properties. Increasing compost proportions in the mixtures resulted in enhanced: 1) availability of macro- and micronutrients in the growing media; and 2) overall growth parameters of lettuce seedlings, in particular for the cultivar Satine. In conclusion, posidonia-based compost shows a considerable potential as a peat substitute in horticultural substrates; posidonia residues are a low-cost renewable material. In growing media for lettuce seedlings production, posidonia-based compost could be used as a complement to peat at a rate of 25% or 50% to obtain optimal physical properties and to limit the negative effects of high B content, which are typical of posidonia residues.

Fractionation and characterization of soil organic carbon during transition to organic farming, Abdelrahman, H., Olk D., Cocozza C., and Miano T. , EGU General Assembly Conference Abstracts, Volume 14, p.10727, (2012) Abstract
Delineation of homogeneous field zones based on soil fertility indices in a durum wheat - chickpea rotation, Diacono, M., Abdelrahman H. M., Cocozza C., Benedetto De D., Troccoli A., Rubino P., and Castrignanò A. , Proceedings of The 8th European Conference on Precision Agriculture "Precision Agriculture 2011", ISBN 978-80-904830-5-7, Czech Centre for Science and Society, Prague, Czech Republic, (2011) Abstract

One of the most cost-effective approaches in precision farming is the managing of relatively contiguous homogeneous zones in the field. Soil samples were collected in a 3 ha field of the CRA-Cereal Research Centre’s experimental farm located in Foggia (southern Italy). Soil carbon mineralization indices and physical-chemical properties were interpolated by using the geostatistical techniques of kriging and co-kriging. The application of a clustering algorithm, based on a non-parametric density estimate, to the (co)kriged surface variables produced the subdivision of the field into four distinct classes. This information can be useful for the site-specific supply of nutrient inputs, in order to match crop requirements with intrinsic patterns of soil fertility.

Effetti Della Sostituzione Della Torba Con Compost Di Posidonia Sulla Produzione Di Piantine Di Lattuga, Mininni, C., Montesano F., Abdelrahman H. M., Cocozza C., Miano T., Santamaria P., and Parente A. , the XXIX convegno nazionale, "relazione suolo-pianta e qualita' delle produzioni, Foggia, Italy, p.61, (2011)
Soil organic carbon changes during transition from conventional to organic farming management., Abdelrahman, H. M., Cocozza C., Olk D., Vonella A. V., Montemurro F. P., and Miano T. M. , the XXIX convegno nazionale, "relazione suolo-pianta e qualita' delle produzioni. 21-23 Sep 2011, Bari, p.40, (2011)
Assessment of weed species and chelating agents’ performance in chelate-assisted phytoremediation of Pb- and Zn-polluted soils, Aboulroos, Samir, Abdelrahman Hamada, Abdeltawab M., and Kamel M. , 15th International Symposium MESAEP 2009 “Environmental Pollution and its Impact on Life in the Mediterranean Region, Bari, Italy, p.34, (2009)
Assessment of weed species and chelating agents’ performance in chelate-assisted phytoremediation of Pb- and Zn-polluted soils, Aboulroos, Samir, Abdelrahman Hamada, Abdeltawab M., and Kamel M. , 15th International Symposium MESAEP 2009 “Environmental Pollution and its Impact on Life in the Mediterranean Region, Bari, Italy, p.34, (2009)
Biodegradable materials compostability, Ceglie, F. G., Erriquens F. G., Abdelrahman H. M., and Verrastro V. , 15th International Symposium MESAEP, Environmental Pollution and its Impact on Life in the Mediterranean Region, Bari, Italy, p.22, (2009)