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Producing a horticultural growing media peat replacement through the retention of plant structure in composted food-processing waste "COMPEAT" - HL0179LHN

Objective
1. Produce uniform, homogeneous and high-quality growing media by composting food-processing co-products, by upgrading and exploiting the IFR COBRA facility. For comparison, produce compost by commercial (windrow/enclosed) approaches. Consultancy with R. Noble (Warwick) and Diverse Technologies Ltd.

2. Elucidate role of cell wall structure from a wide range of different food processing waste/co-products (fruits, vegetables, cereal by-products) and selected others (including seaweed & fibre), in determining micro-structural and related functional characteristics of growing media.

3. Characterise relationship(s) between these structural criteria and key horticultural requirements (e.g. water holding, air porosity, mechanical properties, nutrient status). Consultancy with ADAS.

4. Elucidate the functional roles of microflora during controlled composting of defined biological materials with reference to their impact on cell-wall modification in a predictive capacity.

5. Evaluate the quality of the new growing media through horticultural trials with a range of plant systems, including hydroponically-grown herbs through to pot plants and shrubs. Include in this the evaluation of equipment in the horticultural industry for handling the new medium.

7. Evaluate economics of exploiting new knowledge for commercial production of media.
Project Documents
• Abstract : HL0179: Producing a horticultural growing media peat replacement through the retention of plant structure in composted food-processing waste   (55k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2007

To: 2010

Cost: £415,000
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Diverse Technologies and Systems Ltd, Bulrush Horticulture Ltd, Composting Association, the, Madestein (UK) Ltd., Scottish and Newcastle Beer Production L, Del Monte, Farplant Sales Limited, Organic Recycling Ltd, IFR - Institute of Food Research (BBSRC), Horticultural Development Council, Swedeponic UK Ltd
Keywords
Composting              
Food manufacturing industry              
Food Processing Sciences              
Integrated Farming Systems              
LINK Programme              
Soils              
Sustainable Farming and Food              
Sustainable Farming and Food Science              
Sustainable Farming Systems              
Fields of Study
Resource Efficient and Resilient Food Chain