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Mycorrhizal Inoculated Biochar as an Active Filter of Dairy Wastewater Jacob Kelsey Master’s candidate Gund Institute for Ecological Economics and Ecological.

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Presentation on theme: "Mycorrhizal Inoculated Biochar as an Active Filter of Dairy Wastewater Jacob Kelsey Master’s candidate Gund Institute for Ecological Economics and Ecological."— Presentation transcript:

1 Mycorrhizal Inoculated Biochar as an Active Filter of Dairy Wastewater Jacob Kelsey Master’s candidate Gund Institute for Ecological Economics and Ecological Design Rubenstein School for Environment & Natural Resources, University of Vermont Felix Wai Phd Student Rubenstein School for Environment & Natural Resources, University of Vermont

2 Objectives: To conduct a greenhouse column experiment in order to quantify the ability of biochar and mycorrhizal fungi to uptake phosphorus from a pollutant sample, representative of dairy farm wastewater. Results will be used to discern the efficacy of biochar, compared to other alternative substrates (i.e. steel slag), for incorporation into constructed wetlands.

3 Eutrophication and Phosphorus Pollution

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5 Across the United States, eutrophication of freshwater value lost costs approximately $2.2 billion per year Vermont Agency of Agriculture says 95% of small scale dairy farms (<200 cows) need to address nutrient leachate problems Total costs for Vermont small scale dairy farmers = $30.5 million ~$38,000/ small farm

6 Integrated Constructed Wetlands Cleanse and manage water flow from farmyards Integrate the wetland infrastructure into the farm landscape, enhancing its biodiversity and beauty

7 Integrated Constructed Wetland Benefits Runoff and flood management Relative low cost and simplicity of operation Odor minimization Aesthetically pleasing Habitat and biodiversity enhancement

8 Integrated Constructed Wetland Limitations Farm constructed wetlands have a relatively large land requirement P uptake, compared to other nutrient treatment is often below desired levels, especially in colder climates http://www.fairfieldcity.nsw.gov.au/upload/images/SmithfieldWetland3May2006.jpg

9 Alternative substrates for increasing P uptake/retention in constructed wetlands http://www.cascadesteel.com/Images/manufacturing_process/02a.j pg http://www.uvm.edu/~cwrc/Slag%20image. JPG Best candidates to date are mostly industrial by products Of 57 materials tested for P adsorption, Electric Arc Furnace Steel Slag was found to be the most effective Vanadium and other heavy metal leaching possible

10 Biochar P uptake/retention Physical-Chemical: – Extremely high surface area – Increased Cation Exchange Capacity – Increased Anion Exchange Capacity (Lehmann, et al., 2007)

11 Biochar P uptake/retention, cont. Biological: -Beneficial microbe refugia -Mycorrhizal Fungi proliferation -Increased mycorrhizal populations positively correlated with P uptake www.d.yimg.com/kq/groups

12 Biochar P uptake/retention, cont. www.d.yimg.com/kq/groups

13 Hypothesis: Mycorrhizal inoculated biochar mixed in a gravel substrate in a simulated planted constructed wetland will uptake more phosphorus than a control treatment of plants and gravel substrate alone.

14 Experimental Setup & Methods

15 Experimental Setup & Methods, cont. Treatment # 1 (control): Gravel substrate 20 non-mycorrhizal plants Treatment # 2: Gravel substrate 20 mycorrhizal inoculated plants Treatment # 4: 50/50 gravel: biochar substrate 20 mycorrhizal inoculated plants Treatment # 3: 50/50 gravel: biochar substrate 20 non-mycorrhizal plants

16 Experimental Setup & Methods, cont.

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20 Hypothesis Revisited Time P Concentration # 1) control # 2) +mycorrhizae # 3) +biochar # 4) +biochar +mycorrhizae

21 Preliminary Data

22 Phosphate Price Increase

23 Greenhouse potted plant experiments to test nutrient saturated, microbe inoculated biochar as soil amendment Future Research

24 Field application of biochar in an active filtering bioswale in combination with an Integrated Constructed Wetland at a small dairy farm in Vermont

25 Acknowledgments: John Todd Paul Schaberg Brian Bibens Paul Stamets


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