Theme leader: Dr Siobhan Jordan
Additional contributors to this theme: Dr Caroline Gilleran-Stephens, Dr Joe Lynch, Dr Arjan van Rossum
With the continuing expansion of the agri-food sector in Ireland, in addition to the anticipated further development of industry in line with the targets of the Food Wise 2024 strategy, there is an increasing pressure to manage the large quantities of waste materials and resources generated from this sector in an environmentally friendly and sustainable manner. The need for alternative and innovative solutions and technologies to treat these organic by-products in a sustainable and cost-effective manner is well documented, particularly in terms of protecting water resources and reducing the contribution of the agri-food industry to greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, the increasing demand for food production concurrent to elevated environmental concerns related to agricultural production has resulted in a need for increased efficiency in crop production. With this in mind, the research theme has expanded into the area of crop and feed science, in addition to studies in the area of microplastic accumulation in agricultural soils.
The Organic Resources Research theme addresses the following management issues in the agri-food sector, amongst others, under the following areas:
- Environmentally benign technologies for the conversion of organic resources into value-added products; Calorific value, bioethanol fermentation, anaerobic digestion.
- Biomass composition – Agricultural materials; SMS, crops, horse manure, farmyard manure, brewery waste & organic residues.
- Constructed wetlands – Bioremediation of contaminated wastewaters - agricultural and sewerage.
- Microplastic accumulation in agricultural soils and terrestrial ecosystems.
- Crop and feed science.
Microplastics in Irish Soils
Funding: DkIT Landscape PhD Funding Programme
Collaborators: Dr Siobhan Jordan (DkIT), Dr Caroline Gilleran Stephens (DkIT), Dr Joseph Lynch (DkIT)
PhD student: Clodagh King
Characterisation of the biochemical function and biotechnological importance of oxidative enzymes from Ascomycete and Basidiomycete fungi in plant biomass degradation.
Funding: Irish Research Council studentship
The research focused on various aspects of spent mushroom compost (SMC) management, including the development of a ‘Best Management Practice’ manual for mushroom growers in order to promote effective disposal strategies and to impart ownership of SMC management on the relevant mushroom growers, f