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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Efficient Management and Use of Animal Manure

Location: Food Animal Environmental Systems Research Unit

2012 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
Objective: The objective of this cooperative research project is to conduct cost effective and problem solving research that will evaluate animal waste management practices and treatment strategies that protect water quality, reduce atmospheric emissions, and investigate power plant byproducts as soil amendments. Objective 1: Evaluate the impact of soil chemical amendments, tillage, and manure/litter application to tall fescue grass and corn on soil nutrient content and pathogen survival.

Objective 2: Evaluate the impact of soil chemical amendment and vegetative filter strip treatment system on nutrients, microbial pathogens, and veterinary pharmaceuticals transport from beef cattle backgrounding feedlots on karst environment.

Objective: 3: Determine the suitability of FGD gypsum as a byproduct of coal-fired power plants as a soil amendment. Removing phosphorus and endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) from animal manure using coal combustion byproducts for better handling and land application.

Objective 4: Screening plants for increased phosphorus accumulation and determine related gene expression. Transforming alfalfa to a phosphorus hyper-accumulating plant that could be used in phytoremediation of phosphorus overload from long-term chicken waste applications. Use of manure as a nutrient source for growing algae.

Objective 5: Determine if nutrient loading from agricultural watersheds in karst terrain is a function of physical watershed characteristics.

Objective 6: Develop new sensitive, accurate, and precise analytical methods for the quantification of malodorous compounds and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions forced by meteorological conditions.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Projects in agronomic systems, soil science, emissions, microbiology, cattle evaluation facility, alternative uses of manures, coal combustion byproduct soil amendments, and biotechnology will be conducted using scientific expertise capabilities, field experimental plots, and specialized equipment and other facilities and resources available at Western Kentucky University in conjunction with the specialized equipment and expertise of ARS scientists in the Animal Waste Management Research Unit in Bowling Green and their cooperators for the purpose of industry application and improved economic value within agriculture. Researchers from Western Kentucky University may on occasion work in the ARS laboratories in order to access the specialized, state-of-the-art equipment of ARS. Emphasis is also placed on graduate level training at Western Kentucky University. For details refer to the approved “Project Plan”.


3.Progress Report:

We have completed the field trial for 2011. The mined and flue gas desulfurization (FGD) plots had an application rate of 5,000 pounds per acre. Results showed that mercury concentration versus depth was near homogenous until a depth of 6 inches, at which time background mercury began to appear. Air emission experiments were also performed, but again no statistical difference for yield and air emission. The field and greenhouse studies show that the migration of mercury, from amended soil, is a slow moving process with a fraction of the mercury volatizing back into the atmosphere. However, these findings warrant further investigation. We have refined our detection capability down to the 20 parts per billion (ppb) level. We have also sampled and analyzed discharge wastewater and found the concentration level to be below 20 ppb. Livestock urine typically contains 50 to 500 ppb, depending on species, sex, and age. We have also made additional geotechnical material with a different surfactant to effect changes in porosity. In another study, we have been collecting meteorological and emissions data; we have modeled meteorological fluxes from the waste lagoons, and established relationships between meteorological fluxes and emissions. In other words, major objectives of Year 2 were fulfilled towards development of best management practice (BMP) recommendations. We are in the final stage of the experiment to identify the role of zinc (Zn) and iron (Fe) in phosphorus (P) nutrition. Morphological analyses show that there is a change in the P starvation response when Fe is removed from the medium. There is less anthocyanin accumulation in absence of P and Fe conditions. In addition to this, there is difference in shoot growth and root growth. Removal of Fe facilitated the emergence of new lateral rots and an increase in root length also was observed. Apart from this, changes in the expression of potassium and sulfur transporters also were observed. Data analysis, cross checking with the gene expression and final compilation of the data need some more time. Standardize the protocols for generating callus from different explants and cultivars of alfalfa (completed). We have developed the efficient regeneration protocol from hypocotyl explants of alfalfa for generating transgenic plants overexpressing phytase gene. Examine soil nutrients, microbial communities, and residual veterinary pharmaceutical dynamics. All three components will be studied; analysis of microbial communities and residual veterinary pharmaceuticals will be respectively taken care by collaborators USDA - Agricultural Research Service - Animal Waste Management Research Unit (AWMRU), Bowling Green, KY, and USDA-ARS Beltsville, MD. Focus will be on Global Positioning System (GPS) location to map these variables and provide a continuous landscape analysis. Pharmaceutical analysis will be given the top priority.


Last Modified: 12/22/2014
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