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Scientists develop new fertilizer from food chain waste

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Researchers from Italy’s Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (Piacenza campus) have developed a new fertilizer from food chain waste, specifically from the waste of the productions of lactic acid bacteria that currently have to be eliminated through purification processes.

Lactic acid bacteria are a group of microorganisms capable of fermenting various substrates, giving rise to numerous products of interest to the agri-food and industrial sectors. Lactic acid bacteria are involved in the production of cheeses, fermented milks, and sausages.

The Italian researchers showed how it is possible to recycle waste from industrial production of lactic acid bacteria as fertilizers and biostimulants in agriculture.

Specifically, the trials focused on greenhouse cultivation of tomatoes and lettuce and demonstrated how the use of these industrial wastes makes it possible to reduce the amount of chemical nitrogen fertilizers by 30 percent without reducing production and improving some physiological characteristics of the plant. In addition, they estimated this approach could reduce by 40 percent greenhouse gas emissions associated with chemical fertilizer production.

Study authors said the advantage of using this fertilizer would be that it would simultaneously nourish the plant (with direct and indirect nutrients), the soil bacteria that have positive effects on the plant, and the soil itself (enriching the humification rate of the soil).

The study was published in the journal Land and coordinated by Pier Sandro Cocconcelli, professor of Food Microbiology at the Faculty of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences at Università Cattolica, and Edoardo Puglisi of the Department of Food Science and Technology for a Sustainable Food Supply Chain—DiSTAS. The study was carried out in collaboration with the company Sacco srl of Cadorago (CO) and the agronomic assay center LandLab srl of quinto Vicentino (VI); Gabriele Bellotti, a Ph.D. student at the Agrisystem School of the Università Cattolica, is the first author.

Read the SEP/OCT 2022 issue of New AG International, free to view here.

Find out more about CRFs in New AG International’s latest e-book on Slow- Controlled-Release and Stabilized Fertilizers, here.


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