The aim of the project will be to improve the quality of anaerobic digestion residues so that the growth rate of crops and plants grown on digestates will be increased. This will be achieved by investigating the ability of naturally occurring microorganisms to produce plant growth promoting factors (i.e plant hormones such as auxins) in the digestate. The improved degradation of plant material in the anaerobic digestion process also may also release plant growth promoting compounds (i e. humic acids/soluble lignins) and the mechanisms to increase the amount of these compounds will also be investigated. The development of the presence of plant disease biocontrol agents in digestates will also be researched. The results from this will lead to an improved product which promotes the enhanced productivity of crops, leading to greater food security and expanded markets of digestate for the UK anaerobic digestion industry.
The project is led by Professor Richard Dinsdale with Dr Jeroen Niuewland and Dr Iain Michie. The project is a short 6 month proof of concept project funded by the BBSRC NIBB on Anaerobic Digestion