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Exploring circular economy concept of repurposing spent bioelectrochemical system materials for reuse in agricultural applications
Proceedings of the 2022 Mississippi Water Resources Conference

Year: 2022 Authors: Sauers J., Band D., Ghimire U., Reddy K.R., Magbanua B., Gude V.G.

Circular economy concept (CEC) has been introduced to promote sustainability of current resource utilization and waste management practices. The concept can be loosely defined as an economic system that aims to accomplish sustainable development and economic prosperity by moving away from the "end-of-life" concept. CEC looks to repurpose, recover, reduce, and recycle materials in production and consumption processes. An interesting investigation using CEC is crushing expended bioelectrochemical treatment systems (BES) made from natural materials of bentonite, terracotta, and biochar, that were treated with synthetic municipal wastewater (SWW) and synthetic dairy wastewater (DWW) to create soil amendments to promote plant growth. The BES were constructed for nutrient capture from the SWW and DWW. Soil amendments benefit plant growth by providing more nutrients to the soil. This investigation follows how well 60 corn plants can grow in four different soil amendments. The four-soil amendment were biochar amended soil (BS), terracotta amended soil (TS), terracotta - biochar from SWW-BES amended soil (SWWS) and terracotta - biochar from DWW-BES amended soil (DWWS). Each soil amendments accounted for 10% of the growing medium. The corn was treated with three different nutrient treatments (100% Hoagland nutrition solution, 50% Hoagland nutrition solution, and 0% Hoagland nutrition solution). A control soil consisting of no amendments was used as the reference condition. Each soil amendment and control soil had a total of 12 plants, each of which was subdivided into the three nutrient treatments (4 plants per nutrient treatment). The investigation took place over 38 days at the Soil-Plant-Atmosphere Research Unit at Mississippi State University. The plants were harvested on day 38 and were analyzed for plant height, leaf number, leaf area, leaf dry weight, stem dry weight, root dry weight, shoot dry weight, total dry weight, root/shoot ratio, root length, root surface area, root volume, chlorophyll, flavonoids, nitrogen balance index, stomata conductance, transpiration, and plant tissue. The soil was tested for texture and nutrient analysis. Further, plant tissue was also analyzed. The results and some preliminary conclusions of this on-going investigation will be discussed in this research presentation.

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