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Academic – Effect of composting and vermicomposting on potentially toxic element contents and bioavailability in sewage sludge digestate
Márk Rékási, Péter Ragályi, Déniel Benjámin Sándor, ...
AuthorsMárk Rékási Péter Ragályi Déniel Benjámin Sándor Anita Szabó Pierre-Adrien Rivier Csilla Farkas Orsolya Szécsy Nikolett Uzinger
No abstract has been registered
Academic – Co-composting of digestate and garden waste with biochar: effect on greenhouse gas production and fertilizer value of the matured compost
Simon Weldon, Pierre-Adrien Rivier, Erik J. Joner, ...
No abstract has been registered
Academic – Short-term effects of compost amendments to soil on soil structure, hydraulic properties, and water regime
Pierre-Adrien Rivier, Dorina Jamniczky, Attila Nemes, ...
AuthorsPierre-Adrien Rivier Dorina Jamniczky Attila Nemes Andras Mako Gyöngyi Barna Nikolett Uzinger Márk Rékási Csilla Farkas
Despite the increasing interest in applying composts as soil amendments worldwide, there is a lack of knowledge on short-term effects of compost amendments on soil structural and hydraulic properties. Our goal was to study the effect of compost and vermicompost-based soil amendments on soil structure, soil water retention characteristics, aggregate stability and plant water use efficiency compared to that of mineral fertilizers and food-waste digestate and examine if these effects are evident within a short time after application. We set up a pot experiment with spring wheat using a sandy and a loamy soil receiving either mineral fertilizer (MF); dewatered digestate from anaerobic digestion of food waste (DG), vermicomposted digestate (VC_DG); sewage sludge-based compost (C_SS) and sewage sludge-based vermicompost (VC_SS). We then monitored and calculated the soil water balance components (irrigation, outflow, evaporation, transpiration, and soil water content). At harvest, we measured shoot biomass, soil texture, bulk density, water retention characteristics and aggregate stability. The irrigation use efficiency (IE) and the plant water use efficiency (WUE) were calculated for each treatment by dividing the transpiration and the dry shoot biomass with the amount of water used for irrigation, respectively. For the sandy soil, we used X-Ray computed tomography to visualise the pore system after applying organic amendments and to derive metrics of the pore-network such as its fractal dimension, imaged macroporosity and critical pore diameter. X-Ray tomography indicated that composting and vermicomposting resulted in more complex and diverse porous system and increased soil macroporosity. The increased fractal dimensions also indicated that compost and vermicompost can contribute to structure formation and stabilization within a short time after their application. Despite the small application rate and short incubation time, the application of organic amendments to the two different soil types resulted in improved soil water holding capacity and water use efficiency. Composting and vermicomposting appeared to have the best effect at reducing the irrigation demand and evaporation losses and increasing the water use efficiency of the plant, likely through their effect on soil structure and the pore-size distribution.
Popular scientific article – Use of biochar for green roofs
Pierre-Adrien Rivier, Hans Martin Hanslin, Erik J. Joner
Green roofs are increasingly being used to meet the challenges of extreme rainfall and surface water management in cities and towns. Biochar is a locally sourced and carbon-negative material that can be used as a substrate component for green roofs. Here are some experiences NIBIO has gained in this area through research and testing of various concept.
Report – Tire crumb rubber in soil surrounding artificial turf fields: Hosle, Nadderud og Føyka artificial turf fields, Norway
Claire Coutris, Pierre-Adrien Rivier, Monica Fongen, ...
The presence of tire crumb rubber particles in soil surrounding three artificial football fields in Asker and Bærum municipalities, Norway, was studied. Concentrations of crumb rubber particles in soil were found to be high.
Academic – Biochar affects heavy metal uptake in plants through interactions in the Rhizosphere
Agnieszka Medynska-Juraszek, Pierre-Adrien Rivier, Daniel Rasse, ...
AuthorsAgnieszka Medynska-Juraszek Pierre-Adrien Rivier Daniel Rasse Erik J. Joner
Heavy metals in soil pose a constant risk for animals and humans when entering their food chains, and limited means are available to reduce plant accumulation from more or less polluted soils. Biochar, which is made by pyrolysis of organic residues and sees increasing use as a soil amendment to mitigate anthropogenic C emissions and improve agronomic soil properties, has also been shown to reduce plant availability of heavy metals in soils. The cause for the reduction of metal uptake in plants when grown in soils enriched with biochar has generally been researched in terms of increased pH and alkalinity, while other potential mechanisms have been less studied. We conducted a pot experiment with barley using three soils differing in metal content and amended or not with 2% biochar made from Miscanthus x giganteus, and assessed plant contents and changes in bioavailability in bulk and rhizosphere soil by measuring extractability in acetic acid or ammonium nitrate. In spite of negligible pH changes upon biochar amendment, the results showed that biochar reduced extractability of Cu, Pb and Zn, but not of Cd. Rhizosphere soil contained more easily extractable Cu, Pb and Zn than bulk soil, while for Cd it did not. Generally, reduced plant uptake due to biochar was reflected in the amounts of metals extractable with ammonium nitrate, but not acetic acid.
Lecture – How degradable are biodegradable plastics during composting?
Claire Coutris, Andreas Brilke, Erik J. Joner, ...
AuthorsClaire Coutris Andreas Brilke Erik J. Joner Pierre-Adrien Rivier
There is an increasing interest in plastics, both as a resource and as a pollutant. In Europe, 25.8 million tons of plastic waste are generated each year, and their effects on climate, economy, human and environmental health are major challenges that society needs to address. Although a lot of emphasis is placed on recycling, the use of recycled plastics is still low in the EU. In this context, climate change and environmental concerns have boosted the development of various types of biodegradable plastics. The use of biodegradable plastics spans from disposable containers for food/drink, serviceware and wipes, via waste bags for organic waste collected for biogas production, to agricultural films used to cover soil during vegetable production. However, biodegradable plastics are rarely degraded so quickly and completely that the products disappear in nature, and the label may encourage people think otherwise, enhancing littering. The aim of our study was to describe the fate of biodegradable materials and products during waste treatment, and more specifically during composting. How long does it take these materials to degrade? What are the conditions for degradation, and ultimately, for obtaining plastic-free compost products? To answer these questions, we selected relevant materials, including compostable serviceware, biodegradable plastic bags used for organic waste collection, and biodegradable agricultural mulch films. Composting experiments were performed both at lab-scale (1.5 L containers with externally applied heating) and larger scale (in 140 L insulated compost tumblers, with natural heating from the composting processes, continuously monitored). The endpoints studied were recovery, mass loss, changes in morphology and composition, and microbial analysis of the various composts. In addition, we assessed the applicability of chemical digestion methods used for sample pretreatment of environmental samples containing conventional plastics to biodegradable plastics. Biodegradable plastics is an umbrella term covering materials with diverse polymeric compositions and thus material properties. This was well demonstrated by our selected materials, which displayed distinct degradation behaviors under similar controlled conditions. The time-course of degradation during composting will be presented for all selected materials, together with the main parameters influencing their degradation rates. In addition, some methodological challenges in this research field will be discussed. Finally, experience from a municipal composting facility receiving biodegradable plastic waste will also be presented to put our laboratory-based results into perspective.
Lecture – Plastic materials in biogas digestate used as soil amendment
Claire Coutris, Pierre-Adrien Rivier, Monica Fongen, ...
Organic industrial and household waste is increasingly used in biogas plants to produce bioenergy, generating at the same time extensive amounts of organic residues, called biogas digestates. While agricultural soils can benefit from the organic matter and nutrients, in particular nitrogen and phosphorus, contained in biogas digestates, we need to assess the environmental and health risks associated to the undesirable substances that may come along. Among those, only a few are covered by actual regulations. For instance, the quantity of plastic materials below 4 mm in biogas digestate is currently not limited to any threshold, despite its likely occurrence in organic waste (waste bag remains and wrong waste sorting) and persistence in the environment. The aim of our study was identify and quantify plastic materials in digestates from Norwegian biogas plants, that are using various types of organic waste sources (e.g. sewage sludge, food waste, animal manure). In addition, a lab-scale experiment was set up to assess the physical and chemical transformations undergone during biogas processes by plastic materials commonly found in digestates. The methods used in our study included simultaneous thermal analysis coupled to Fourier transform-Infrared spectroscopy (for analysis of polymer composition), scanning electron microscopy (for assessment of physical transformations), and a range of physical and chemical extractions for recovering plastic materials from biogas digestates. While all digestates complied with current regulations, plastic particles with a size of 0.2-3 mm made up to 1% (on dry mass basis) of the samples analyzed. Analysis of the polymeric composition of the recovered plastic fragments confirmed that they originated both from the waste bags themselves (shredded during the first steps of waste handling) and from wrong waste sorting. In addition, the lab-scale biogas treatment was shown to considerably change the structure of the studied plastic materials, illustrating a pathway for the formation of secondary microplastics. Some analytical challenges linked to the size and aging of the plastic materials, as well as the complex composition of the digestates, will be discussed. From a broader perspective, a few options will be presented to address the presence of plastic materials in biogas digestates, and thereby minimize the risk associated to their use as soil amendment.
Masters thesis – What happens to biodegradable plastic in soil and compost? Development and comparison of methods
Andreas Brilke, Åsgeir R. Almås, Erik J. Joner, ...
AuthorsAndreas Brilke Åsgeir R. Almås Erik J. Joner Claire Coutris Pierre-Adrien Rivier
Plastics in terrestrial ecosystems negatively affect their functioning by altering physical properties and disturbing soil microorganisms. The same could be true for biodegradable plastics entering nature through incomplete degradation in composting plants, and their subsequent application to soil in fertilizer substrate. So far, no standard analysis protocol for biodegradable plastic degradation exist. This Master's thesis has focused on developing methods for the analysis of biodegradable plastic degradation in a compost matrix and lays a foundation which later research can be built upon. Fenton's reagent and hydrogen peroxide were tested as a sample up-concentrating pre-treatment of an organic matter matrix containing biodegradable microplastics. The degradation of four different biodegradable plastics in nylon bags in a compost tumbler and a compost oven incubation were assessed. Samples for pH and phospholipid fatty acids (PLFA) of different treatments were collected to compare their development and interchangeability. Fenton's reagent was the better suited up-concentrating pre-treatment for samples with some uncertainty remaining. Assessing the biodegradable plastic degradation indicated an incomplete process in home composts and (Norwegian) composting plants. pH values coarsely reflected the composting conditions and suggested interchangeability of most treatments. Analysis of pH together with PLFA results would have been optimal, but could not be accomplished as the COVID-19 epidemic hindered the PLFA analysis. While some uncertainties in the developed methods remain, it can be concluded that a basis for establishing biodegradable plastic degradation analysis was created. Subsequent research should continue their development to assess whether biodegradable plastic remains from composting plants contribute to the accumulation of plastics in terrestrial ecosystems.
At the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO, formerly Bioforsk), biochar has been a topic of research since 2009 through both laboratory and field studies. Initial results demonstrated that biochar produced from clean biomass is safe to use on agricultural soils, and that pyrolysis temperatures of ≥370 °C are necessary for producing biochar that is resistant to decomposition on a timescale of 100 years. Further work identified the chemical transformations that are responsible for biochar stability and contributed to finding the best indicator of this stability. Throughout the years, we have had close collaboration with industry and farmers in Norway, where now industrial networks are in action and there is financial support for the implementation of biochar technology. Despite the convincing benefits of biochar as a climate mitigation solution, it has only slowly advanced beyond the research stage, notably because its effect on yield are too modest. There is therefore a need for win-win biochar solutions benefiting both food production and climate mitigation. Such a solution is the development of biochar fertilizers, which capitalizes on the capacity of biochar to capture and release nutrients. As biochar properties largely depend on pyrolysis conditions and feedstock properties, our current work contributes to the selective design of biochars for the purpose of improving nutrient use efficiency.
Academic – Comparing the agrochemical properties of compost and vermicomposts produced from municipal sewage sludge digestate
Márk Rékási, Nikolett Mazsu, Eszter Draskovits, ...
AuthorsMárk Rékási Nikolett Mazsu Eszter Draskovits Botond Bernhardt Anita Szabó Pierre-Adrien Rivier Csilla Farkas Barbara Borsányi Béla Pirkó Sándor Molnár György Kátay Nikolett Uzinger
The aim of this work was to investigate whether the agronomic traits of vermicompost prepared from partially stabilised sewage sludge digestate after thermophilic composting were more favourable than those of conventional compost. The effects of various additives (green waste, spent mushroom compost, wheat straw, biochar) were also tested after 1.5 months precomposting followed by 3 months vermicomposting with Eisenia fetida or by compost maturing. Vermicomposting did not result in significantly more intensive mineralisation than composting; the average organic carbon contents were 21.2 and 22.2% in vermicomposts and composts, respectively. Hence, the average total (N: 2.4%; P: 1.9%; K: 0.9%) and available (N: 160 mg/kg; P: 161 mg/kg; K: 0.8%) macronutrient concentrations were the same in both treatments. The processing method did not influence the organic matter quality (E4/E6) either. However, on average the concentration of the plant growth regulator kinetin was more than twice as high in vermicomposts.
Academic – Transfer of organic pollutants from sewage sludge to earthworms and barley under field conditions
Pierre-Adrien Rivier, Ivo Havranek, Claire Coutris, ...
AuthorsPierre-Adrien Rivier Ivo Havranek Claire Coutris Hans Ragnar Norli Erik J. Joner
We investigated dissipation, earthworm and plant accumulation of organic contaminants in soil amended with three types of sewage sludge in the presence and absence of plants. After 3 months, soil, plants and earthworms were analyzed for their content of organic contaminants. The results showed that the presence of plant roots did not affect dissipation rates, except for galaxolide. Transfer of galaxolide and triclosan to earthworms was significant, with transfer factors of 10–60 for galaxolide and 140–620 for triclosan in the presence of plants. In the absence of plants, transfer factors were 2–9 times higher. The reduced transfer to worms in the presence of plants was most likely due to roots serving as an alternative food source. Nonylphenol monoethoxylate rapidly dissipated in soil, but initial exposure resulted in uptake in worms, which was detected even 3 months after sewage sludge application. These values were higher than the soil concentration at the start of the exposure period. This indicates that a chemical's short half-life in soil is no guarantee that it poses a minimal environmental risk, as even short-term exposure may cause bioaccumulation and risks for chronic or even transgenerational effects.
Academic – Assessment of addition of biochar to filtering mixtures for potential water pollutant removal
Lea Piscitelli, Pierre-Adrien Rivier, Donato Mondelli, ...
AuthorsLea Piscitelli Pierre-Adrien Rivier Donato Mondelli Teodoro Miano Erik J. Joner
Green roofs are used increasingly to alleviate peaks of water discharge into the sewage systems in urban areas. Surface runoff from roofs contain pollutants from dry and wet deposition, and green roofs offer a possibility to reduce the amounts of pollutants in the water discharged from roofs by degradation and filtering. These pollutants would otherwise enter wastewater treatments plants and ultimately end up in sewage sludge that is spread on agricultural soils. The most common substrates used in green roofs have limited capacity for filtration and sorption. Also, more sustainable alternatives are sought, due to the high carbon footprint of these materials. Biochar is a carbon-rich material produced by pyrolysis of biomass, and several types of biochar have been described as good sorbents and filter materials. Biochar is also a light and carbon negative material, which may fulfill other desired criteria for new green roof substrates. We here report on an experiment where two types of biochar, produced from olive husks at 450 °C or from forest waste at 850 ° C were mixed with volcanic rock or peat, and tested for retention capacity of phenanthrene and six heavy metals in a column experiment with unsaturated gravimetric water flow lasting for 3 weeks. The results suggest that biochar as a component in green roof substrates perform better than traditional materials, concerning retention of the tested pollutants, and that different types of biochar have different properties in this respect.
Lecture – Degradation of triclosan and galaxolide in soil is unaffected by rhizosphere processes, but roots drastically reduce bioaccumulation in earthworms
Pierre-Adrien Rivier, Claire Coutris, Ivo Havranek, ...
AuthorsPierre-Adrien Rivier Claire Coutris Ivo Havranek Erik J. Joner
No abstract has been registered
Poster – Effects of Rhizobium inoculation on growth, N-fixation efficiency and protein levels in six field-grown faba bean (Vicia faba) genotypes
Ingunn M. Vågen, Pierre-Adrien Rivier, Randi Seljåsen, ...
Matching high performing varieties of legumes with effective symbiotic N-fixing bacteria can potentially enhance production volumes and economic returns when cultivating grain legumes. We investigated whether field inoculation with local or introduced Rhizobia to six different varieties of faba bean improved growth, nitrogen (N) fixation and protein content in a field experiment in Southern Norway. In 2016, a full factorial experiment featuring three inoculation treatments (a mixture of four morphotypes of Rhizobia isolated from locally grown faba bean, a mix of two efficient and well documented Rhizobium strains from Latvia, and a non-inoculated control treatment) and six faba bean (Vicia faba) genotypes (Agua Dulce, Bauska, Jõgeva, Gloria, Julia, Lielplatones) was set up in an experimental field with sandy loam soil with no recent legume culture history (>10 years). At late flowering/early pod formation stage we quantified N fixation of the crop using the N-15 natural abundance method, using weeds from the same plots as reference plants. We also assessed morphological and phenological characters, seed yields and protein levels at plant maturity. Clear differences were observed, and detailed results from this study will be presented at the conference (analyses are still pending). This research is a part of the EU FP7 project Eurolegume.
Academic – Uptake and elimination kinetics of the biocide triclosan and the synthetic musks galaxolide and tonalide in the earthworm Dendrobaena veneta when exposed to sewage sludge
Ivo Havranek, Claire Coutris, Hans Ragnar Norli, ...
AuthorsIvo Havranek Claire Coutris Hans Ragnar Norli Pierre-Adrien Rivier Erik J. Joner
Sewage sludge is an important amendment that enriches soils with organic matter and provides plants with nutrients such asnitrogenandphosphorus.However,knowledgeonthe fateandeffectsof organic pollutants presentin the sludge on soilorganisms is limited.In the present study, the uptake of triclosan, galaxolide, and tonalide in the earthworm Dendrobaena veneta was measured 1 wk afteramendment of agricultural soil with sewage sludge, while elimination kinetics were assessed over a 21-d period after transferring worms toclean soil. After 1-wk exposure, earthworms had accumulated 2.6 0.6 mgg1galaxolide, 0.04 0.02 mgg1tonalide, and0.6 0.2 mgg1triclosan. Both synthetic musks were efﬁciently excreted and below the limit of quantiﬁcation after 3 and 14 d ofdepuration for tonalide and galaxolide, respectively. Triclosan concentrations, on the other hand, did not decrease signiﬁcantly over thedepuration period, which may lead to the transfer of triclosan in the food web.
Lecture – Use of biochar in filtration substrate mixtures for soil and water conservation
Lea Piscitelli, Pierre-Adrien Rivier, Donato Mondelli, ...
AuthorsLea Piscitelli Pierre-Adrien Rivier Donato Mondelli Teodoro Miano Daniel Rasse Erik J. Joner
No abstract has been registered
Division of Environment and Natural Resources
DGRADE - Constraints to degradation of biodegradable plastics in terrestrial systems
There is an increasing interest in plastics, both as a resource and as a pollutant. Climate change and environmental concerns have boosted the development of biodegradable plastics, spanning from disposable food containers to waste bags and agricultural mulch films. But how fast do these products degrade in Nordic soils and waste streams?