- Demo Day
Speaker | Texas State University
San Marcos, TX | email@example.com
Tina Marie (Waliczek) Cade is a Professor of Horticulture in the Department of Agricultural Science at Texas State University. She is the faculty manager of the award-winning Bobcat Blend university composting program which processes all of the cafeteria food waste on campus as well as invasive species from the San Marcos River. In managing the university compost project, her team researches the potential to incorporate other agricultural, environmental and industrial organic materials as feedstock. She is also a registered horticultural therapist and a certified arborist.
Session Code: 6C
Track: CREF Research
Session Name: Biochar, Sargassum; Cocomposting Biosolids
Session Time: Wednesday, January 26, 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Presentation Title: Examining the Quality of a Compost Product Derived from Sargassum
Presentation Description: The free-floating algae known as sargassum (Sargassum fluitans and Sargassum natans) drifts onto coastlines throughout the Atlantic Ocean during spring and summer months. Beach communities seek to maintain tourist appeal and remove or relocate the sargassum drifts collecting on shore. Maintenance efforts have attempted to incorporate sargassum into dunes. However, not all communities have the resources to manage the biomass and must dispose of it in a landfill. The utility of the seaweed biomass as a fertilizer for plant growth has been renowned for centuries. The purpose of this project was to evaluate the appropriate proportion of sargassum to other compost ingredients used in a large-scale composting system to create a quality product for utilization in horticultural and/or agricultural products. This study used approximately 32 yard^3 of sargassum as part of 96 yard^3 of compost material, which also included food waste, fish waste and wood chips. Four protocols were prepared and included either 25% or 41.5% sargassum and various proportions of food or fish waste and wood chips, ingredients that would be readily available in coastline communities, to determine the ideal ratios of materials to create a quality compost. Piles were turned regularly and monitored for compost industry standards. All final compost products and protocols were of reasonable quality to those required by current compost standards. However, the protocol incorporating equal parts sargassum (41.5%) and wood chips (41.5%), fish waste (4%), and food waste (13%) had the best results in terms of organic matter content and overall nutrient levels. Therefore, this study determined waste management industries can utilize sargassum as a feedstock through a large-scale composting system to create a desirable compost product that could be used in the horticulture industries. Sargassum could also be composted and returned to the shoreline where it would build soils and vegetation.