Growing healthy and productive crops requires good soil quality. Soil should have the right content of different nutrients, because a lack or excess of one or more nutrients disturbs growth. If your soil is poor, you can selectively add the nutrient that is lacking from your soil for the specific crop you are growing in place of adding chemical fertilizers.
In order to diminish the widespread usage of environmentally damaging chemical fertilizers, the Archipelagos laboratory team offers free analyses of soil quality for farmers, as well as advice on the nutrient composition of their soil as well as natural methods to replenish missing nutrients.
Our laboratory provides analyses of soil samples for the following parameters:
Ammonia, calcium, chloride, free chlorine, cooper, iron, pH, magnesium, manganese, nitrate, nitrite, phosphate, phosphorus.
Archipelagos conducts research on pesticide residues in order to assess environmental effects of the use of pesticides and herbicides in farming practices and to inform consumers and farmers about these effects. Using the results of our analyses, we create awareness campaigns that explain the health hazards of pesticides and encourage farmers to choose organic methods in place of chemical agents.
Our laboratory team collects samples from olive groves, vineyards, vegetable gardens and greenhouses. Samples are collected and analyzed from the main crops, the produced goods (e.g. wine and oil), the surrounding vegetation growing on the ground and the soil.
In recent years there has been a slow but steady shift towards organic farming by people who live on the islands. Nevertheless, a lot of work is still needed for progress to be made on a large scale.
Pesticide usage in the Aegean and its effect on humans
Archipelagos’ research database includes information about the active substances of 36 pesticides, 22 fungicides, 16 herbicides and 4 plant regulating substances used on the islands of the Aegean. The majority of these pesticides and herbicides is toxic to humans and other mammals, birds, insects and marine organisms, causing severe health damage or even death. Independent studies have also shown that they may be carcinogenic, teratogenic or dangerous for the reproductive system. Chemicals used in these substances accumulate in the food chain and through this process travel long distances from the places where they were originally used.
Analyzing pesticides and their effects on soil
The use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers disturbs the balance of microbes and nutrients in the soil, thereby degrading the soil quality. Long term exposure can make the soil completely degraded and unusable for agricultural production. Chemical fertilizers are used to nourish plants, but they also destroy the soil microbial fauna and degrade the soil quality.
Pesticide usage can have the adverse effects of creating resistant pests as well as destroying many of the useful species that help maintain balance in the soil.