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Biofuels have potential to damage quality of soil

The production of biofuels could potentially damage the quality of the soil which it is grown in.

That is according to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientist Ann Kennedy, who has said that by taking away the stems and leaves of crops to create biofuels can deplete a vital nutritional source for soil.

Speaking during a podcast for 60 Second Science, Ms Kennedy suggested that the so-called crop residue takes food away from soil microbes, which could adversely affect its quality.

These microbes break down crop residue that forms organic matter that gives soil its rich, dark colour.

In turn, if this crop residue is harvested to produce biofuels it removes the materials that are fodder for insects that make organic matter.

If soil quality drops farmers would have to find some other way to fertilise their fields, which could harm the environment.

Biofuels can in theory be produced from any biological carbon source, with the most common derived from photosynthetic plants.

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