Transformation of corn stalk residue to humus like substances during solid state fermentation with Trichoderma reesei

Prof. Sen Dou1, Lili Wang2, Lobo Li1, Xuyang Shi3, Xintong Liu3, Xiaodong Ren3

1College of Resource and Environmental Science, Jilin Agricultural University, Changchun, China, 2School of Life Science, Anhui University, Hefei, China, 3School of Life Science, Jilin University, Changchun, China

Cellulase production from straw waste by Trichoderma reesei has been widely applied, yet the conversion of fermentation residues into humic substances is less reported. The objectives of this study are to evaluate the impacts of Trichoderma reesei on the degradation of corn stalk residue under solid-state fermentation from quantitative and structural aspects. The results show that the highest decomposition rate of corn stalk and the highest activity of cellulase, xylanase and β-glucosidase were got at the 4th day. The cumulative degradation rate was 40.78% after 8 days fermentation. Humus like substance including humic acid-like (HAL), fulvic acid-like (FAL) and humin-like material (HML), is a major transformation product of corn stalk residues. FAL and HML significantly decreased during fermentation, whereas HAL and PQ value (the ratio of HAL / [HAL + FAL]) appeared to be increased. Moreover, HAL degrees of condensation, oxidation, aromatization as well as HAL thermal stability were all enhanced. The data in this study suggest that the fermentation of corn stalk amended with Trichoderma reesei is not only beneficial to the degradation of stalks, but also promotes the transformation of corn stalk to humus, which provide available use of Trichoderma reesei in agricultural soil amelioration.

Acknowledgements This work was financially supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China (grant No. 2016YFD0200304)


Prof of College of Resource and Environmental Science, Jilin Agricultural University.

Microalgae and phototrophic purple bacteria for nutrient recovery from agri-industrial effluents; influences on plant growth, rhizosphere bacteria, and putative C & N cycling genes

Dr Sasha Jenkins1, Mrs Somayeh Zarezadeha2, Dr Bede Mickan3, Dr Tim Hülsen4, Prof Hossein Riahi2, A/Prof Navid Moheimani5

1University Of Western Australia, South Perth, Australia, 2Shahid Beheshti University, Iran, 3Richgro, Jandakot, Australia, 4The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia, 5Murdoch University, Murdoch, Australia

Microalgae (MA) and purple phototrophic bacteria (PPB) have the ability to remove and recover nutrients from digestate (anaerobic digestion effluent) and pre-settled pig manure that can be utilized as a bio-fertilizer. The objective of this study was to compare the effect of biologically recovered nutrients from MA and PPB in relation to plant growth and soil biological processes involved in nitrogen & carbon cycling. A glasshouse experiment was conducted with MA and PPB as biofertilizers for growing a common pasture ryegrass (Lolium rigidum Gaudin.) with two destructive harvests (45 and 60 days after emergence). To evaluate the rhizosphere bacterial community we used barcoded PCR-amplified bacterial 16S rRNA genes, for paired end sequencing on the Illumina Mi-Seq. Additionally, we used Phylogenetic Investigation of Communities by Reconstruction of Unobserved States (PICRUSt) analysis for the detection of putative functional genes associated with nitrogen (N) cycling and soil carbon (C) cycling.

There was a significant enhancement of plant growth when applying PPB to soil, which was comparable with the effects of chemical fertilizers. Comparison of rhizosphere bacteria between two harvests revealed an increase in the relative abundance of most gram-negative bacteria. There was also an increase in nitrogen cycling (nitrogen fixation, nitrification and denitrification) and carbon (starch, hemicellulose, cellulose, chitin and lignin) degrading genes in the rhizosphere of microalgae treatments during the second harvest.

These data indicate that biologically recovered nutrients from waste resources can be used effectively as a fertilizer resulting in enhanced C and N cycling capacities in the rhizosphere.



The effect of lignite and modified coal on nitrogen loss from broiler litter

Mr Brendon Costello1, Dr Bing Han1, Prof Deli Chen1, Dr Clayton Butterly1

1Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, Unversity of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia

Poultry meat production generates large amounts of organic waste. Poultry litter, which consists of manure, bedding material (e.g. wood shavings), feathers and spilt feed, is a valuable source of organic matter and nutrients that may be used as a fertiliser or soil amendment to improve soil chemical and biological properties. Nitrogen (N) has the greatest economic value of the nutrients found in poultry litter and the amount and stability of this N is critical to ensure the successful reuse of this waste product. However, large amounts of N may be lost from poultry litter via ammonia (NH3) volatilisation thereby reducing the quality of the waste product, its value and the potential for reuse after leaving the broiler house. Birds do not produce urine but rather excrete N in faeces in the form of uric acid (C5H4N4O3), which is rapidly hydrolysed to urea (CH4N2O) and subsequently NH3 following manure deposition onto litter. The rate at which NH3 is volatilised and lost to the environment is highly dependent on broiler house conditions, such as litter pH and temperature. Lignite has been shown to be highly effective at reducing N loss in beef cattle feedlots due to its low pH and high cation exchange capacity (CEC). However, its effectiveness in poultry systems has not been established. Other novel litter amendments such as modified black coal may also prove effective. Oxidisation of black coal can change its surface chemistry, generating high concentrations of acidic oxygen-containing functional groups, thus reducing pH and increasing CEC. The availability and low cost of these amendments warrants further investigation of their efficacy. This research aims to investigate innovative methods to reduce N loss from poultry litter in broiler houses, improve the nutrient value of the waste material and facilitate increased reuse of this important source of nutrients and soil organic matter.


Gaseous emissions from lignite amended manure composting process

Dr Mei Bai1, Robert Impraim1, Dr Trevor Coates1, Dr Thomas Flesch2, Dr Raphaël Trouvé3, Dr Hans van Grinsven4, Dr Yun Cao5, Dr Julian Hill6, Professor Deli Chen1

1Faculty Of Veterinary And Agricultural Sciences, The Univeristy Of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia, 2Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2R3, Canada, Edmonton, Canada, 3School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences, Faculty of Science, The University of Melbourne, Richmond, Victoria 3121, Australia, Richamond, Australia, 4PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, The Hague, The Netherlands, The Hague, The Netherlands, 5Circular Agriculture Research Centre, Jiangsu Academy of Agricultural Sciences, NanJing 210014, China, Nanjing, China, 6Ternes Agricultural consulting Pty Ltd, Upwey, Victoria 3158, Australia, Upwey, Australia

Emissions of ammonia and greenhouse gases from agricultural systems results in the loss of valuable nitrogen (N), and has negative environmental impacts. Composting manure is a typical management practice on livestock farms, used to increase the content and availability of nutrients. We hypothesize that the addition of lignite, readily available in Australia, can retain N during manure composting. To test our hypothesis, a study was conducted at a commercial feedlot during the summer season. Prior to cattle entering a feedlot pen, we applied 6.48 tonnes of dry lignite to the pen surface, while no lignite was applied to a control pen. After 90 days, the cattle were removed, and manure from each pen was collected to form separate manure windrows, with and without lignite amendments. We quantified gaseous emissions of NH3, nitrous oxide (N2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), and methane (CH4) from both windrows with a micrometeorological technique using open-path Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (OP-FTIR). Over the 87 days measurement period, the accumulative gas fluxes showed that the addition of lignite reduced NH3 emissions by 54% during composting, but increased greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (CO2 equivalent, CO2−e). The N lost as N−NH3 was 9.7% and 24.4% of the total initial N in the lignite and non-lignite windrows, respectively, and the N lost as N−N2O was 0.8% and 0.3% of the total N in the lignite and non-lignite windrows, respectively. To estimate the economic and environmental benefits of reducing gas emissions, we applied a cost-benefit analysis and found that lignite addition to cattle pens cost-effectively improved the nutrient value in final compost product, and could justify trade-off increased GHG emissions.


Changes of soil organic carbon in paddy soils from sixty-five years fertilization experiments

Dr Myung-sook Kim1, Dr Seong-Jin Park1, Dr Sung-Hyun Kim, Dr Hyun-Young Hwang

1National Institute Of Agricultural Sciences, Rural Development Administration(rda), Iseo-myeon, South Korea

Soil organic carbon(SOC) are important for production and quality of rice in paddy soils. Objectives of this study were to assess the changes of soil organic carbon contents during a long-term fertilization experiment on which to base a proper use of fertilizer and soil amendment for a sustainable agriculture in rice production. The changes of organic carbon (SOC) contents in paddy soils (sandy loam) were assessed from data of the 65 years fertilization plots in which the continuous rice cropping experiment started in 1954 at the National Academy of Agricultural Science, Suwon, Korea. The treatments were no fertilization(No fert.), inorganic fertilization (NPK), inorganic fertilizer plus rice straw compost (NPK+C) and inorganic fertilizer plus rice straw compost and silicate fertilizer (NPK+CS). After 33~35 years, SOC content in NPK+C treatment in surface soils (0-15cm) reached at the highest (19 g kg-1), followed by maintaining a plateau level for 8 years. This level was about 1.9 times higher than that (9 g kg-1) of the first 4 years (’54-‘57). The SOC content in No fert. and NPK treatments increased steadily to 13 g kg-1, respectively, which were about 1.3 and 1.4 times higher than those of the first 4 years. After 50 years, however, SOC contents in all treatments tended to decrease and reached in 2018 at 10 g kg-1 in no fert., 12 g kg-1 in NPK and 16 g kg-1 in NPK+C and NPK+CS treatments. Continuous application of rice straw compost and silicate fertilizer affected significantly on the levels of SOC in surface soils. The combined applications of inorganic fertilizers with organic compost and silicate are recommended as the best fertilization practice for fertilizer use efficiency and enhancement of soil fertility status in the continuous rice cropping system in Korea.


I have worked as an agricultural researcher at the National Institute of Agricultural Science in South Korea. Recently I am studying to interpret the changes of soil organic matter in long-term experiment that has been in operation for 65 years in Korea. Attending the SOM Symposium, I hope to share the changes of soil organic matter and broaden the interpretation through different views of other researchers.

Effect of organic manures application on soil physico-chemical properties of coarse-textured Ultisols and okra productivity in Nsukka, south eastern Nigeria

Dr Chukwuebuka Azuka1, Mr Chukwuemeka Idu1

1Department Of Soil Science, University Of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nsukka, Nigeria

Ultisols of southeastern Nigeria are highly degraded, low in organic matter, acidic and with poor nutrient and moisture retention characteristics. This necessitates the need for sustainable management through continuous input of organic manure. Greenhouse and field studies were carried out to determine the effect of different rates of poultry manure (PM) and pig slurry (PS) on soil physico-chemical properties and okra yield in Nsukka, southeastern Nigeria. The treatments were PM and PS applied at 0, 10, 20 and 40 t/ha, and the recommended NPK 15:15:15 fertilizer (300 kg/ha). The soil and agronomic data collected were subjected to analysis of variance (ANOVA) using Genstat 4.0. The results showed that both PM and PS significantly (p<0.05) improved soil pH, soil organic matter (SOM), available phosphorus (AP), total nitrogen, aggregate stability, mean weight diameter (MWD) and saturated hydraulic conductivity in both greenhouse and field studies. However, cation exchange capacity (CEC), coarse sand and fine sand were significantly (p<0.05) improved only in the field study. The greatest effect on soil properties were obtained at 40 t/ha application rate of PM and PS. However, PS produced highest CEC (13.6 cmol/kg) and MWD (0.962 mm) at 20 t/ha for the field and greenhouse studies respectively. The PM and PS significantly (p<0.05) improved plant height, number of leaves, fruit length, fruit girth and yield of okra relative to the control. NPK fertilizer had no significant (p<0.05) effect on soil physico-chemical properties and okra productivity when compared to the control. The best yields were obtained at 40 t/ha (4.97 t/ha) and 20 t/ha (3.93 t/ha) of PM and at 40 t/ha (4.26 t/ha) of PS. Generally, PM showed greater effect on both soil properties and okra productivity.


Azuka, Chukwuebuka Vincent is a Lecturer in the Department of Soil Science and Land Resources Management, University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He has worked briefly (October, 2008- February, 2009) as chemistry/physics teacher at Arch Deacon Nwosu Memorial Secondary School, a secondary education setting in Ozubulu, Anambra State, and University of Calabar, Cross River state (March, 2009 – February, 2010) as a Corps member before joining University of Nigeria, Nsukka as a Graduate Assistant in March, 2010.  He hails from Uruokwe-Egbema Ozubulu in Ekwusigo LGA of Anambra state. He graduated from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka in 2008 with First Class (4.63/5.00) Honours (B. Agric) Degree in Soil Science and emerged the best graduating student at both departmental and Faculty levels. He obtained M.Sc Degree in Soil Physics and Conservation in 2013 from the same university. He is currently enrolled in the Doctoral program (Climate change and water resources) of the West African Science Service Centre on Climate Change and Adapted Land Use (WASCAL) sponsored by German Ministry of Science and Education (BMBS) Bonn, and co-hosted by Université D’Abomey calavi, Benin Republic and University of Bonn, Germany. He is also a visiting researcher at the centre for development research (ZEF), university of Bonn, Germany. He teaches on the B. Agric Agricultural Physics, Introduction to Soil Science and Soil Physics practical programme. His research interests include soil physics and conservation, soil and water management, and hydrology, particularly in Nigeria and other West African regions. He has published papers in both local and international journals.

Unexpected high mitigation of methane emission via short-term aerobic digestion of cover crop biomass before flooding in rice paddy

Mr Jin Ho Lee1,2, Ms Hyeon Ji Song1, Ms Mun Hyeong Park1, Mr Pill Joo Kim1,2

1Division of Applied Life Science (BK 21+ Program), Gyeongsang National University, Jinju, South Korea, 2Institute of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Gyeongsang National University, Jinju, South Korea

Soil organic matter (SOM) is used as an important indicator of soil quality and a countermeasure to mitigate global warming. To increase SOM stock, cover cropping and its biomass incorporation are strongly suggested in mono-rice paddy. However, since biomass application significantly increased greenhouse gas emission (GHG), in particular, methane (CH4), during the flooded rice cultivation, its positive effect is confronting with the negative environmental problem. We hypothesized that the short-term aerobic digestion of cover crop biomass under the dried soil before flooding might degrade labile organic matter into carbon dioxide (CO2), and then reduce CH4 production during the flooded rice cultivation. In order to evaluate the feasibility of the short-term aerobic digestion of amended biomass on reducing CH4 emission in a rice paddy, the mixture of barley and hairy vetch biomass was added inner dried soil with different time intervals from 0 to 30 days before flooding, and then CH4 emission rates were monitored. In the two months’ incubation test, more than 10 days of aerobic digestion before flooding significantly decreased CH4 flux by 88-98% over the control, in which soil was immediately flooded without aerobic digestion. In the field test, similar results were observed. Only 10 days of aerobic digestion after biomass addition under the dried soil condition reduced seasonal CH4 flux by approximately 60% over the control. This reduction effect was slightly increased by extending the aerobic digestion period. In contrast, rice productivities were not significantly different from 0 to 30 days of pre-aerobic digestion. As a result, more than 10 days of aerobic digestion before flooding decreased CH4 intensity which means the yield-scaled CH4 emission by 60% over the control. In conclusion, the pre-aerobic digestion of cover crop biomass before flooding can be good soil management to reduce CH4 emission without productivity damage in rice paddy soil.


I earned B.Sc. and M.Sc. from Gyeongsang national university, Korea. Our team has developed effective soil management to enhance soil organic carbon stock without crop productivity losses.

Effect of biochar combined with silicate application on Cd mobility and translocation in soil and rice

Ms Lianqing Li1, Ms Fengfeng  Sui, Mr Genxing Pan, Jinbo Jinbo Wang

1Nanjing Agricature University,  Nanjing, China

There have been studies of the effects of biochar on immobilizing Cd in soil, few work study the remediation effect of biochar combined with Si. A field trial was carried out in a Cd contaminated rice paddy soil from 2016 to 2017 in three rice seasons in Hunan province, China. Biochar was applied only once at rates of 0, 10 t ha-1 (R1) and 20 t ha-1 (R2) at late rice season in 2016, sodium silicon was applied at every rice season with a rate of 0.75 (SS) t ha-1. Biochar combined with sodium silicon with treatments of  R1+SS and R2+SS was applied only once in 2016. The results showed that biochar combined with Si significantly reduced Cd concentration in rice grain. Translocation factor of Cd from root to shoot (TFR/S) under the treatment of biochar and Si-rich biochar decreased compared with control. Analysis of the fresh and contaminated biochar particles in season 3 indicated that Cd had complexed with Si, Al, Fe and O on the external and internal surfaces around and inside the contaminated biochar particles. This suggested that Si-rich biochar amendments can immobilize Cd in soil, and could effectively reduce the uptake of Cd in rice grain by reducing Cd translocation from root to shoot.


I am a teacher. I am working in Nanjing Agricultural University in China. I am engaged in scientific research of soil  environment and science .

Seasonal changes in soil bacterial processes associated with C and N cycling in dairy pasture after application of compost and manure

Mr Ian Waite1, Dr Sasha Jenkins1, Dr Bede Mickan1,2, E/Prof Lynette Abbott1

1University Of Western Australia, South Perth, Australia, 2Richgro, Jandakot, Australia

We investigated use of manure and compost in restoration of dairy pasture via effects on soil bacterial community composition and functional diversity. Bacteria can influence both retention and loss of soil C and N during the degradation of organic matter. Bacterial communities in soil amended with manure or compost in a dairy farmer field experiment were characterized in winter and summer using community profiling of 16S rRNA genes. Inorganic fertilizer was applied with 2t/ha manure, or with compost applied at 3t/ha or 6t/ha. The dominant bacterial phyla were Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria, Acidobacteria, Bacteriodetes and Firmicutes and their relative abundance was influenced by organic amendment and application rate (for compost). The occurrence of C degrading functional genes and N functional genes were predicted using Phylogenetic Investigation of Communities by Reconstruction of Unobserved States (PICRUSt). Putative PICRUSt gene counts associated with breakdown of hemicellulose, cellulose and chitin were highest for manure in winter. Predicted C genes and N gene abundance of amoB associated with nitrification was lowest in winter for soil treated with 6 t/ha compost. The complexity of soil bacterial community responses to manure and compost applied to this dairy pasture highlighted reduced potential for degradation of soil C and mineralization of N and retention of C and N in soils when 6t/ha compared to 3t/ha compost or manure were applied. Dairy soil management practices that influence soil bacterial contributions which enhance C sequestration and N retention in dairy soils will limit C and N losses via greenhouse gas emission and leaching.


Ian has been working in the Soil science discipline for over 20 years. His research has focused on the use of isotopic, chemical, biochemical and molecular approaches for analysing the link between microbial community structure and function in soils. Of particular interest is how microbial communities and the processes are impacted by soil amendments of organic matter including waste by-products.

Upcycling domestic food waste: Optimising success for the home composter

Ms Sally Harrison1, Mr Ronen Mazor2, Dr Samantha Grover1

1RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia, 2Maze Distribution, Clayton, Australia

Microbial decomposition of organic matter is the underlying mechanism that enables us to reduce the volume of our domestic food waste and transform it into valuable compost. This upcycled product can enhance the physical, chemical and biological properties of soil, enabling us to grow healthier plants and tastier food in our urban environment. There is widespread scientific understanding of the conditions conducive to microbial decomposition of organic matter. Internal factors (physical and chemical composition of the food waste; size, activity and composition of the microbial community) and external factors (temperature, water content, aeration, additives) all play a role. This research explores which factors are the most important to the specific application of home composting in urban Australia. The project seeks to develop recommendations for the home gardener as to how these factors can be optimized to produce compost faster. The approach is grounded in the needs and realities of the industry serving the home compost market, with a combination of laboratory and full-scale field trials. Communication and interpretation of results in formats that engage and inform a general public audience are an integral part of this research collaboration between RMIT University and Maze Distribution.


2011-2016: PhD Candidature – Aquatic pesticide analysis
Melbourne Water and Water Quality Research Australia
RMIT University.
2000-2006: PhD Candidature – Biosensor Technology
CRC for Microtechnology, RMIT University.
2000: Awarded an Australian Postgraduate Research
Award Scholarship.
2000: Bachelor of Applied Science (Honours)
(Environmental Science) First Class Honours, RMIT University
* Certificate of Commendation (in recognition
of academic achievement)
1999: Bachelor of Applied Science (Environmental Science) RMIT University
* Certificate of Commendation (in recognition
of academic achievement)
2000–current: Instructor and Demonstrator
Courses: Environmental Science, Analytical Chemistry,RMIT University

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