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Sugarcane crop as emission source of reactive nitrogen compounds and its role in the environment

Grant number: 16/05706-7
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): May 01, 2017
Effective date (End): October 31, 2020
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Chemistry - Analytical Chemistry
Cooperation agreement: Coordination of Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES)
Principal researcher:Arnaldo Alves Cardoso
Grantee:Carolina Gomes da Rocha
Home Institution: Instituto de Química (IQ). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Araraquara. Araraquara , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:15/18790-3 - Environmental effects of the pasture-sugarcane conversion and pasture intensification, AP.PFPMCG.TEM
Associated scholarship(s):18/18831-0 - Determination of deposition rates of organic nitrate compounds to soil and plant leaves using the dynamic chamber method., BE.EP.DR


Sugarcane plays a prominent role in Brazil's current economy and has growth projections for the coming years mainly due to the use of biofuel ethanol as an alternative energy source. However, a relevant problem regarding the production of ethanol refers to the possible massive increase in the emissions of reactive nitrogen compounds, such as NH3, NO and NO2 to the atmosphere, due to the use of nitrogen fertilizers in the cultivation process. These compounds may undergo transformations for other gaseous species, such as nitric acid (HNO3), photocatalyses the formation of tropospheric ozone, or even nucleate particles such as ammonium nitrate (NH4NO3) forming fine particulate matter, associated with respiratory health problems in humans. As emissions increase, the rates of deposition of these compounds to the surface also rise, causing a number of environmental problems, such as acidification of aquatic ecosystems, soil weathering and loss of biodiversity. Considering the scarcity of information on NO, NO2 and NH3 emissions from nitrogen fertilizers used in sugarcane crops and their impacts, in this project, passive and active samplers will be developed / adapted for the monitoring of these gases emitted in an agricultural site dedicated to the cultivation of the sugar cane in the Araraquara region during a complete cycle of cultivation of this culture. The climatic and crop management conditions will be evaluated and related to the measured emission flows. Finally, it is intended to estimate the contribution and the effect of these emissions of reactive gases and particles from the monitored agricultural area on the chemical composition of the local atmosphere and also on the dry and wet deposition of chemical species for soil and surface water. (AU)

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