The contributions in The Nexus of Soils, Plants, Animals and Human Health describe the role soils play for plant, animal and human health. They show that soil- and human health are intricately connected, because healthy soils produce healthy crops, which in turn nourish humans and animals, allowing for their health and productivity. Soil quality directly influences the quality and quantity of food that can be produced, as soils provide essential macro- and micronutrients and attenuate environmental pollutants. On the other hand, these same pollutants, thus concentrated in soils, may cause soils to become toxic and degraded. Soils (and their crops) may also be responsible for exposure to pests and pathogens, while, at the same time, providing drug substances and may even suppress diseases.
Soil quality is vital on a global scale, as more than 800 million people around the world are undernourished, implying that their intake of food is insufficient to meet their daily energy needs, and the deficiency of essential micronutrients is even more widespread. Nearly one third of the world's population is affected by zinc deficiency, while iron deficiency affects nearly 3 billion people.
Climate change has been shown to affect animal and human health, and soils are intricately linked to the atmosphere by being both a source and sink of greenhouse gases. Soils are the largest active terrestrial reservoir of organic carbon and its sequestration in soils can be enhanced by improved management practices.
The Nexus of Soils, Plants, Animals and Human Health summarizes the current state of research of these important issues and provides a comprehensive treatise of the global importance of soils to humankind.
1 Soils as a foundation for plant, animal and human health (Bal Ram Singh) 1
2 History of soils in relation to animal and human health (Eric C. Brevik and Lily Pereg) 8
3 The Soil-Animal-Human Health Nexus (Kathi Kemper, J. Lakritz and Rattan Lal) 16
4 Impact of soil on human health (Adeline Louie and Rattan Lal) 21
5 Role of soils for satisfying global demands as defined by the Sustainable Development Goals (Winfried E.H. Blum) 30
6 Soil physicochemical properties impacting upon animal and human health (Peter M. Kopittke, Peng Wang and Ram C. Dalal) 34
7 Soil physical compaction and erosion as a threat to food production and human health (Rainer Horn, Heiner Fleige, Iris Zimmermann and X. Peng) 42
8 Soil microbial processes in relation to plant, animal and human health (E. Semu, H. Tindwa and G. Misinzo) 49
9 Macronutrients in soils and plants, and their impacts on animal and human health (Alan J. Franzluebbers and Andrew N. Sharpley) 58
10 Micronutrients in soils and plants and their impact on animal and human health (R.P. Narwal., R.S. Malik and H. K. Yadav) 64
11 Iron deficiency in soils and plants and its implication for global human health Ross M. Welch 72
12 Zinc deficiency in soils and plants and its implications for global human health (R.S. Malik, R.P. Narwal, H.K. Yadav and Dheeraj Panghaa) 77
13 Selenium deficiency in regional soils affecting animal and human health in Balkan and other European countries (Maja Manojlovic and Zdenko Loncaric) 87
14 Mineral balances in animal nutrition (Tore Sivertsen and Aksel Bernhoft) 99
15 Challenges in predicting needs for mineral supplementation in grazing livestock (N.F. Suttle) 105
16 Soil management and fertilizer practices affecting crop production and human health (Rodrigo C. da Silva, Fien Degryse, Roslyn Baird and Mike J. McLaughlin) 111
17 Biofortification of food and fodder crops with zinc and iron for improved human and animal health (Yashbir Singh Shivay and Vijay Pooniya) 122
18 Biofortification of food and fodder crops with selenium for improved animal and human health (Maria J. Poblaciones) 133
19 Cadmium transfer from soil to plants and its potential risk to human health (Peng Wang, Peter M. Kopittke, Steve P. McGrath and Fang-Jie Zhao) 138
20 Arsenic in ground waters, soils, and food crops in Bangladesh and India seriously affects human health (M.T.A. Chowdhury and S.M. Imamul Huq) 148
21 Impact of climate change on soil carbon storage (Ram C. Dalal, Peter M Kopittke, and Neal W Menzies) 156