Bente Føreid

Research Scientist

(+47) 401 05 960

Ås F20

Visiting address
Fredrik A. Dahls vei 20, 1430 Ås




I have aan MSc in Plant Physiology from the University of Oslo and a PhD in Agroecology from the University of Copenhagen. I have worked in the UK and US and joined NIBIO/Bioforsk in 2014.


  • Carbon and nutrient cycling in the plant-soil system
  • Simulation modelling
  • Isotope studies
  • Carbon sequestration in soil
  • Organic residues e.g. digestate (residue from biogas production), compost, fish sludge, urine
  • Treatment of organic residues, e.g. composting, vermicomposting, nitrification
  • Nutrient use efficiency of organic residues as fertilizers for plants
  • Greenhouse gas emissions after application of organic residues to soil and during composting

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Sorption could be a way to concentrate nutrients in diluted waste streams to bring more nutrients back to agriculture. However, the sorbed nutrients must be plant available. The aim of this work was to investigate how plant available nitrogen (N) added sorbed to zeolite and is compared to conventionally added N. First, 15N labelled ammonium was sorbed to a sorbent, zeolite, in an aqueous solution. Then, the fertilizer effect was compared to the ammonium fertilizer and added the conventional way, with and without zeolite. A pot experiment with two soil types (chernozem and sandy soil) and wheat as test crop was used. Results indicated that the fertilizer effect of sorbed ammonium in the first growth cycle is about 50% of ammonium added conventionally. The sorbent itself had a positive effect in sandy soil, but not in chernozem. N uptake without added N was higher in chernozem than in sandy soil and more N from fertilizer was left in the soil after the experiment in the chernozem than in the sandy soil. In conclusion, ammonium added sorbed is plant available to some extent, but less so than conventionally added ammonium.


Biofertilizers, fertilizers made from organic residues, could replace some mineral fertilizers, reducing energy consumption and resource mining. The main treatment options are composting, anaerobic digestion, drying, pyrolysis and combustion, they can be used alone or in combination. The quality of biofertilizers depend both on the original residue and on the treatment, but in most cases not all the nutrients are immediately available to plants. It is difficult to predict how available the nutrients are, and when they will become available. The methods to assess and predict nutrient availability are reviewed. Furthermore, the effect of biofertilizers on the environment in the form of nutrient losses and greenhouse gas emissions are reviewed and compared to mineral fertilizers. There is a need to produce biofertilizers with better and more predictable qualities, and also to understand their effects over multiple seasons.

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Purpose: Due to environmental concerns, efforts are made to replace the use of peat in horticultural growth media by organic wastes. Four growth media were prepared with the purpose of achieving adequate physical and chemical properties for plant production. Materials and methods: Growth media prepared from mixtures of coir (C) and paper sludge (P), respectively, with two biogas digestates from food waste (D1 and D2), were tested. These mixtures, 20% D1 or D2 + 80% C or P (v/v), were evaluated as growth media for tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) and lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.). Results and conclusion: The growth media were all physically stable during the growing period, provided all the macronutrients and most of the micronutrients necessary for plant growth, adequate pH conditions, as well as an adequate electrical conductivity. The mixture of D2 and P produced the highest biomass compared to a mineral fertilised peat (control), with a biomass production of 76% of the control for lettuce and 54% for tomato. Causes for the biomass reduction relative to the control may be related to ammonium toxicity effects, and/or limited plant-available water. The digestates, particularly D1, seemed also to have a phytotoxic effect on the germination.

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In this work, experimental and modelling investigations were conducted on biochars pyrolyzed at 350 °C and 600 °C, to determine the effect of pyrolysis temperature, hydrogen peroxide activation and pH on copper and zinc removal, in comparison with commercially available activated carbons. Characterization of biochars was performed by BET surface area, elemental analysis and FTIR spectroscopy. Experiments results demonstrated that biochar pyrolyzed at 600 °C adsorbed both copper and zinc more efficiently than biochar pyrolyzed at 350 °C. Chemical activation by H2O2 increased the removal capacity of biochar pyrolyzed at 350 °C. All investigated biochars showed a stronger affinity for copper retention, with a maximum adsorption capacity of 15.7 mg/g while zinc was 10.4 mg/g. The best adsorption performances were obtained at pH 5 and 6. Langmuir adsorption isotherm described copper adsorption process satisfactorily, while zinc adsorption was better described by Freundlich isotherm.

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Exposure to sunshine is known to play a role in litter decomposition in some semi-arid areas. The aim of this study was to find out if it also plays a role in higher latitude environments in peat litter decomposition and could contribute to an explanation to the patchy nature of peat litter decomposition. Peat litter from 5 microenvironments (top of slope, bottom of slope, ridge, ryam and hollow) and put out and exposed to the sun or shaded over a summer in Western Siberia, 26 km west of the town of Khanty-Mansiysk. Afterwards the peat litter was incubated in the laboratory - at field capacity or submerged in peat water - and CO2 and methane emission measured. Chemical composition of exposed and control peat litter was also investigated using stepwise extraction. The results indicate that exposure to sunlight does increase subsequent decomposition rate in most peat litters when incubated at field capacity, but the difference between the treatments levelled off at the end of the 2 weeks incubation in most peat litter types. The total extra carbon loss was calculated to be up to about 2 mg C m− 2 over a season. When incubated submerged previous photo-exposure had less effect on CO2 evolution then when incubated at field capacity. No methane emission was recorded in any treatment. Some differences in chemical composition between exposed and shaded peat litters were found that could help explain the differences in subsequent decomposition rate. The results indicate that photodegradation could play a role in peat litter decomposition at higher latitudes when peat is disturbed and exposed to sunshine. However, the effect of photo-exposure in these areas is much smaller than observed in semi-arid areas at lower latitudes.


Soil cores from a field growing barley and barley mutants without root hairs under conventional and minimum tillage were sampled. They were X-ray scanned to produce a 3D image and then the roots were washed out and weight and length were determined by conventional means. Root volume and surface area were then calculated from the 3D images using state of the art software and methodology, and the measured and calculated measures were correlated. The only strong and significant correlation was between measured weight and calculated volume for mutants without root hairs. It is concluded that the software cannot segment out very small roots, but segmentation accuracy also depends on root structure in some unknown way. Any study using X-ray computed tomography to quantify roots as they grow in situ should start with a calibration for the conditions in question.


Division of Environment and Natural Resources

Greenhouse gas emissions from biogas digestate applications to rice production systems

Digestate, organic residues from biogas production, are good fertilizers. However, application of digestate can stimulate greenhouse gas production. Greenhouse gas emission from rice production is particularly problematic, because rice is grown flooded. This project, RICEDIG aims to find how digestate application affect greenhouse gas emissions in flooded rice production systems.

Active Updated: 10.05.2019
End: sep 2021
Start: oct 2018