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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract -

The Responses of Soils and Soil Microorganisms to Silver Iodide Weather Modification Agents1


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 4 No. 2, p. 211-214
    Received: Aug 6, 1974

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  1. R. A. Sokol and
  2. D. A. Klein2



To determine the consequences of AgI weather modification agent accumulation to the soil microbial environment, the effects of added silver compounds on microbial growth, anaerobic cellulose degradation, and the soil environment adjacent to a cloud seeding generator were investigated. Silver ion from AgNO3 inhibited microbial growth in cultures at concentrations as low as 6 × 10−9 g ml−1 and cultures saturated with AgI displayed an inhibition of growth initiation approximately equivalent to 35 × 10−9 g ml−1 silver ion. Muds containing AgI exhibited significantly decreased anaerobic cellulose degradation rates in long term experiments, when concentrations of 100 µg AgI/g were present. An analysis of the soil surrounding a seeding generator site in Steamboat Springs, Colorado indicated that deposited silver tends to remain near the soil surface (0–2 cm). Alterations in the soil environment due to high silver concentrations were indicated by consistently higher organic matter levels, water contents, microbial populations, and rates of soil respiration. These results suggest that high concentrations of seeding agent potentially can alter the soil microbial environment by inhibiting organic matter decomposition, but that the silver levels which accumulate in seeded target areas should have no overt effects on the soil environment.

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