Abattoir residues as nutrient resources: Nitrogen recycling with bone chars and biogas digestates

Gerhard Soja, Anders Sörensen, Bernhard Drosg, Wolfgang Gabauer, Markus Ortner, Alexander Schumergruber, Gerald Dunst, Daniela Meitner, Elena Guillen-Burrieza, Christoph Pfeifer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Abattoirs produce by-products that may become valuable resources for nutrient recycling and energy generation by including pyrolysis and biogas production in the value creation chain. This study investigated the potential of bone chars as sorbents for ammonium in order to produce a soil amendment useful for fertilizing purposes. Ammonium enriched from the digestate by membrane distillation or from pure ammonium sulphate solutions accommodated the nitrogen sorption to the bone chars. The plant availability of the sorbed nitrogen was studied by a standardized short-term plant test with rye (Secale cereale L.). The results showed that ammonium, both from biogas digestate and from pure salt solutions, could be sorbed successfully to the bone chars post-pyrolysis and increased the nitrogen con-centration of the chars (1.6 +/- 0.3%) by 0.2-0.4%. This additional nitrogen was desorbed easily and supported plant growth (+17 to +37%) and plant nitrogen uptake (+19-74%). The sorption of ammonium to the bone chars had a positive effect on the reversal of pure bone char phyto-toxicity and on nitrogen availability. In summary, this study showed that abattoir wastes are useful pyrolysis input materials to produce bone chars and to provide ammonium source for sorption to the chars. This innovation offers the possibility to produce nitrogen-enriched bone chars as a new type of fertilizer that upgrades the known value of bone char as phosphorus fertilizer by an additional nitrogen fertilizer effect.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere15169
Number of pages11
JournalHeliyon
Volume9
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023

Research Field

  • Former Research Field - Health and Bioresources

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