POREM monitoring report (2020/09/30 –July-August-September 2020)

The work carried out for each POREM Action, in progress, was:

  1. Implementation actions

Action B.1: Pilot production of poultry manure based (POREM) bioactivator for soil bioremediation at pilot scale

Second cycle of POREM bioactivator was set up in Italy, Spain and Czech Republic during third quarter of 2020.

In Italy, POREM production was completed in Calabria with 1 pile of 6 tons by Soldano; this POREM was sent to Cesena on 8th of July in order to perform Action B.2 activity concerning Head cabbage.

In Apulia, pilot scale production started at Checchia Angiolina Farm in Biccari (FG) on July 18th. Three piles of 3 tons each were realized in the same barn of I cycle production. Poultry litter from organic farm was used as raw material. They were equipped with an ENEA system for process temperature monitoring (internal and environment temperatures).

After dialogue among partners, substrate sampling in Biccari was carried out in agreement with the new procedure, applied also in Czech and Spanish pilot productions:

  • Raw material sampling with 5 samples for each pile (instead of 3 in cycle I) during formation,
  • Process sampling at t =30 days and 60 days, as well as in the proposal, with 2 samples for each pile (1 for crust-surface layer and 1 for core, inner part of pile).

In Spain, POREM production started in August in Santomera (Murcia) with 3 piles of 6 tons each. Preliminarily, VAPs were supply by Amek for Spanish trials (24 kg for each pile of 6 tons).

Referring to Italy and Spain, the description of the locations and the preparation of the piles was reported in the previous monitoring reports.

In Czech Republic, VAP was delivered to the EPS premises on July 8th, 2020. Production of the bioactivator started on July 13th, 2020 and finished on September 15th, 2020. To prepare the bioactivator, the total of 9 tons of poultry manure from laying hens (Mistřice farm) and 36 kg of VAP were used. Three (3) identical piles, each containing 3 tons of poultry manure and 12 kg of VAP, were set up. The bioactivator maturation area was harbored by a high-ceiling, well-ventilated barn (14 m x 16 m, 10 m high) serving the purpose of protecting the bioactivator from atmospheric precipitation and minimizing the surroundings disturbances with odors. The whole bioactivator maturation process was monitored by regular sampling (day 0, day 29 and day 64), temperature and gas concentration measurements. Bioactivator samples have been sent on ice to CEBAS labs for further analysis immediately after sampling. After 64 days of the maturation process 7 tons of POREM bioactivator were obtained from the original 9 tons of poultry manure. Based on the information from laboratory analyses, carried out by our partners, the POREM bioactivator is ready for application after the 60 days of maturation.

Virtual technical/organizational meeting among ASTRA/CEBAS and ASTRA/ENEA were performed respectively on September 7th and 11th, in order to define the best organization for POREM bioactivator production and monitoring.

Action B.2: Degraded soil bioremediation in Spain, Italy and Czech with POREM bioactivator

Italy (ASTRA):

Emilia-Romagna Region:

  • The test on head cabbage (POREM Cycle II) started in mid-July 2020. The test was set up on the same land and plot layout of the previous tomato test (POREM Cycle I). ASTRA personnel carried out the initial soil sampling prior to POREM and commercial fertilizer applications: one sample of soil per each treatment (bulk of the 4 replicates A-B-C-D), for a total of 3 soil samples. The POREM used in the test was produced (t=120 days cycle) at the Soldano poultry farm (project partner) in Calabria Region (Southern Italy), consisting of PAV activated poultry dejections from laying hens raised by Soldano. The initial soil samples were sent to CEBAS - CSIC at the beginning of August for the analysis characterization. Standard chemical fertilizer and POREM were applied in mid-July 2020 and the cabbage transplant was executed 6 days later. The first field assessments occurred in August, as scheduled. The crop harvest, final assessments, final crop and soil samplings are foreseen within November 2020, in function to crop growth performance.

Apulia (Puglia) Region:

  • The test on horse bean (POREM Cycle II) is foreseen from mid November 2020 to June 2021. POREM is on production (t=90 days cycle) and kept at the farm warehouse for the entire period of process until field application. It comes from PAV activated poultry dejections from litters of broiler addressed to EU organic production (Reg. 834/EC/2007; new reg. from 2021). The test will be executed on the same land and plot layout of the previous barley test (POREM Cycle I). As for the previous crop (barley in POREM Cycle I), ASTRA personnel will carry out the initial soil sampling prior to POREM and commercial organic fertilizer application: two samples of soil per each treatment (one from the ‘upper’ land plot, bulk of the 3 replicates A-B-C; one from ‘lower’ plot land, bulk of 3 replicates D-E-F), for a total of 6 soil samples. These soil samples will be sent to CEBAS - CSIC for the analysis characterization within one month after the sampling task. The first field assessments will occur at crop emergence.

Spain (MICRONADIR):

Murcia Region (Santomera, Murcia):

In the experimental field placed in Santomera, Murcia (Spain), where the POREM bioactivator was incorporate in a degraded area as a strategy to improve soil quality and health, MICRONADIR has continued monitoring the soils (spontaneous vegetation appeared, control of the plots, etc.). In addition, soil samples have been collected 6 months after the start of the experiment (June 2020). The sampling has been carried out on the 0-20 cm soil layer and in all plots: control soils without the addition of POREM, as well as those where the poultry manure or POREM bioactivator were incorporated at two different doses. All samples were exhaustively homogenized and conveniently prepared. All the soil samples were sent to the CEBAS-CSIC laboratory for their corresponding analysis.

Czech (EPS):

The winter crop test is about to start in the Czech Republic. The preparation of POREM bioactivator was finished on September 15th, 2020. The agriculture field for EPS testing has about 1 ha area, split in four flat-laying test plots (dimensions: 72 m x 28 m with 3 m division gaps). The usual field preparation was carried out before winter planting – shallow plowing of straw residues from the previous farm harvest (0-15 cm). The initial soil sampling, before the POREM bioactivator application, was performed on September 16th, 2020. The POREM application followed immediately after with different doses of thoroughly homogenized POREM-bioactivator spread evenly over the test plots using a tractor-spreader: T0 - no bioactivator, T1 - 1200 kg, T2 - 1800 kg, T3 - 3600 kg. Later, the same day (Sept-16-20), the bioactivator was plowed into the soil (0-30 cm). On September 17th, 2020, soil samples were sent on ice to CEBAS for further analysis. The final pre-sowing operation, mechanical disturbance of the lumps of soil (0-15 cm) by rotary harrows, was completed on September 18th, 2020. Sowing of winter crops by a combined seed drill with fine lumps crushing, followed by seeds sowing and final covering of seeds (0-15 cm) is expected at the end of September / beginning of October 2020 after precipitation. Soil sampling after POREM application is planned after sowing. Winter crop harvesting and final soil sampling is planned on July 2021.

Action B.4: Training courses, workshops and guidelines for project replicability and transferability

On the basis of the COVID-19 problems we have redefined the training courses and workshops with the new following schedule:

  • POREM workshops
    • Italy:
      • ASTRA in May 2021
      • Soldano in June 2021
    • Spain: Micronadir: June 2021
    • Czech Republic: EPS in May 2021
  • POREM training courses
    • Italy:
      • ASTRA in June 2021
      • Soldano in June 2021
    • Spain: Micronadir in June 2021
    • Czech Republic: EPS in June 2021
  • 2 technical Guidelines
    • POREM production in May 2021
    • POREM field application in May 2021

Action B.5: POREM Business Plan

  • All the beneficiaries started to work on the study and analysis of the market for the future POREM commercialization. In particular a specific analysis of the competitors was carried out.
  • The activities started for Action B.5 are detailed in Annex 17 Technical report “POREM market/competitor analysis”, as attachment of the Mid-term Report.
  • Astra is starting to asks for different offers about the external service related to the production of the POREM Business plan

 

  1. Monitoring of the impact of the project actions

Action C.1: Monitoring the low cost technologies used in soil restoration

Italy (ENEA):

ENEA has received the samples at t0 and some at t30, collected from Spanish, Italian and Czech piles, belonging to the second POREM production cycle. Therefore, ENEA has started with the physico-chemical characterization, performed with:

- Thermogravimetric Analysis (TGA): to measure thermal stability and detect decomposition phases (ΔT and % mass loss) - X-ray diffractometric analysis (XRD): to detect mineralogical phases; - Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM- EDS): to analyse morphological structure and carry out semiquantitative analysis.

As for the first production cycle, the search for inhibitors is performed by IZSLER, to prevent antibiotic risks.

Meanwhile, the global analysis on the characterization results of the first POREM production samples has allowed to draw up the summary documents which are the basis of the abstract presented for Ecomondo 2020 fair and the news published on some online magazine.

The Additional Staff, foreseen for action C1 and C2, started working on material characterization and related activities; his contract was activated on July, 21st 2020.

Spain (CSIC):

CSIC continued the chemical and biological characterization of all the POREM samples of Cycle II. ENEA has carried out a more detailed analysis on the characterization results of POREM samples, produced by Italy (Apulia and Calabria) and Spain. Based on this analysis, CSIC and ENEA organized the characterization related to the second campaign of POREM production (e.g. SEM, TGA, XRD analysis, gas monitoring). Due to the pandemic measures and the consequent limitation of mobility, ENEA had to introduce the variations in characterization campaign linked to the gas monitoring. The POREM heaps prepared in July will not be subject to gas monitoring; while, probably in February 2021, the gas monitoring will be carried out by ENEA on other heaps in Apulia, as actually planned. The POREM obtained in these heaps prepared in 2021, will be used in the test fields to demonstrate the POREM efficacy, after the end of the project too.

CSIC has carried out all the analyses related to the pile of chicken manure with VAP that MICRONADIR kept active until January 10, 2020 (180 days). MICRONADIR moved and mixed the organic material, and took three samples, each consisting of 10 subsamples. These samples were homogenized by CSIC and analyzed in the same way as all the previous organic samples. All the analyses showed that the POREM process can be carried out during a period of 90 days, since no significant changes were observed after 60-90 days.

Czech Republic (EPS):

  1. EPS used a combined approach for sampling during the bioactivator maturation. Five mixed samples per pile were taken during the initial (Day 0) and the final (Day 64) by a shovel. The process development in different pile-layers was investigated during the middle sampling event of the bioactivator maturation (T29). The lower part of piles was sampled using an auger along the pile perimeter. The crust (0-5 cm) and the core (30-70 cm) of the piles were sampled as well. Each sample contained material from 6-7 injections from different points. Samples were sent for laboratory analyses to CEBAS.
  2. EPS used three different gas monitoring units - Eco Probe 5, MiniRAE 3000 and Biogas to cover the project’s goals of monitoring all required gases - O2, CO2, CH4, H2S and NH3. EPS performed four different monitoring scenarios – 1st monitoring point was used for worker exposure examination and it was located 1 m from the central pile, 2nd monitoring point examined the odor interference of nearest neighbors and it was located 1 m behind the barn, 3rd monitoring point measured CO2 emissions from the pile surface with a gas monitoring bell (defined area and volume) and 4th monitoring point presented values for clean air. Monitoring days were T0, T1, T2, T9, T16, T23, T29, T45, T64. Data evaluation is expecting during October 2020.
  3. The temperature development was examined inside the piles and in their near surroundings in the barn. The maximum temperature measured inside the piles was 45.2 ° C on day 16 with an ambient temperature of 20.7 ° C.

Action C.2: Monitoring of degraded soils

Italy (ASTRA):

Field and laboratory results from POREM Cycle I field tests, carried out by ASTRA on tomato in Cesena (Forlì-Cesena province; Emilia-Romagna region in Northern Italy) and on barley in Biccari (Foggia province, Apulia region in Southern Italy) have been statistically analysed and presented to general meeting in Foggia on 3rd August 2020. The statistical variance among treatments was analysed with ANOVA and positive significative differences have been highlighted for some parameters. In order to complete the results, the quantity of fertilizer applied per hectare also in terms of Macroelements P and K, as already done for N, will be calculated and compared in the different tests.

Spain (CEBAS-CSIC -MICRONADIR):

Murcia Region (Santomera):

In the field plots controlled by MICRONADIR and placed in Santomera (Murcia, Spain), a comparison will be made between the soil samples analysed at the beginning of the experiment and those from 6 months. It is expected that there will be variations between both sampling times, since the soils must not yet be balanced, and the mineralization and / or humification processes must be developing. In addition, the possible vegetation that is spontaneously developing on the plots, although opportunistic and possibly with nitrophilic plants, may be contributing to the soils with some organic matter and it will undoubtedly affect some of the parameters that are being determined.

In addition, CEBAS-CSIC is also analysing all the soils that come from the different experiments carried out in Emilia-Romagna and in Apulia (Puglia).

Czech Republic (EPS):

The EPS test field is located in an area characterized by intensive agriculture. The main factor leading to soil degradation in this area is incorrect agricultural practice, which has recently been accelerated by the climate changes (increase in the number of extreme events). There is a high level of compaction, lack of humus and nutrients in the soil and problems with infiltration and water retention. EPS does not own suitable land for the purpose of the POREM project. Therefore, it was necessary to rent a suitable land for the field test. Several plots were selected with the character of degraded soil. After the field reconnaissance, sloping land and land recently treated with fertilizers were excluded. Further narrowing of the selection was affected by negotiations with landowners and their willingness/unwillingness to cooperate on the research project. The selected EPS test field (Blatnička village cadaster near Uherské Hradiště) displays the character of degraded soil. Degradation features negatively affecting soil quality are:

  • degradation of physical properties of soil (structural damage, compaction, surface flow of water)
  • Undesirable changes in the content of nutrients in the soil (leaching, biological and abiotic immobilization)

Above discussed facts are supported by the publication “Monitoring of agricultural soils in the Czech Republic, 1992–2013 “published by Central Institute for Supervising and Testing in Agriculture.

The initial monitoring of the soil "before the application of POREM" was carried out just before the application of POREM on September 16th, 2020. The EPS sampled a total of 20 mixed samples of 0.5 kg each, 5 samples per test plot. Samples were taken from the central line from each test plot (72 m x 28 m) from the depth of 0-25 cm. Due to the severe compaction of the soil, the samples had to be collected using an electric hand drilling device. For comparison purposes, one more sample was added and labeled as "CZ etalon" – from a slightly bushy strip of land located just adjacent to the field, representing the properties of non-degraded soil without intensive agricultural treatment.

The second soil sampling "after the POREM bioactivator application" is planned shortly after sowing the winter crops and final field preparation in late September – early October. Final soil sampling is expected after the July 2021 harvest.

Action C.3: Monitoring of socio-economic impact of the project and LCA

Italy (ENEA):

For the life cycle assessment of the technology, a first draft of data collection sheets has been set.  Furthermore, a review of available data has been made and a first draft of the Life Cycle Assessment model was set. During this period, data collection continued according to the goal of Action C.3

Action C.4: Performance indicators monitoring

Italy (ENEA):

Literature and experimental data collection are going on and a new data collection campaign has been set to furnish new and more relevant data.

  1. Public awareness and dissemination of results

Action D.1: Project dissemination plan: web-site, material, articles, Layman’s report and video

Updating of the project website and increasing of visits.

Production of 21 POREM articles.

Action D.2:Project dissemination plan: events, networking and contacts with Institutions and policy makers

No events participations due to COVID-19 problems.

  1. Project management

Action E1: Project management

Progress and monitoring meeting held on 03/08/2020 in Hotel Holiday Foggia - Via Napoli, km 2,800 near SS 90, SS16, 71122 Foggia, and on 04/08/2020 in Checchia farm in Biccari (FG) for visiting a POREM production site.

Monthly on line meeting between ASTRA, ENEA and CEBAS.

ANSWERS TO THE MONITOR’S REQUIREMENT FOLLOWING

3-4 AUGUST 2020 PROJECT AUDIT

  • Comparison between Macroelements contents of POREM and Standard Fertilizers used in all field tests (Spain, Northern and Southern Italy and Czech Republic).

The comparison have been completed for tomato test in Cesena while is ongoing for the other test. Further information has been asked to the partner about the other trials. First cycle crops comparison will be completed within December 2020.

  • Soil degradation definition and selected criteria for choosing the field test area in the different countries (Spain, Italy and Czech Republic).

According to bibliographic information, there is not a unique definition for degraded soils; several parameters are indicated for soil degradation. According to the priority in the different countries, each partner is producing a report in order to explain the choice of the different test sites in function of the specific country priority related to degradation. Report will be completed within December 2020.

  • Potential mineralization of POREM Nitrogen (40% - technical details).

Bibliographic information has been collected and the results of a specific trial realized by CEBAS – CSIC are taken into account in order to prepare a document to explain the potential mineralization in the soil of the Nitrogen from both poultry manure and POREM. Report will be completed within December 2020.

PROBLEMS EMERGED DUE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMY IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE ACTIVITIES

Although the lock down caused by COVID-19 pandemic was overcome in Italy during the third quarter of 2020, the regular execution of the actions foreseen in the project had to adapt to the security procedures imposed by the authorities. All the coordination meetings have been carried out on line using web facilities. No visit to test sites was allowed to external personnel. Some partner suffered strong limitation in the displacement. The reduced mobility also forced the postponement of the project dissemination activities (training courses with producers and workshops with authorities) that were planned for the Spring 2020. Despite this, almost all foreseen activities for the period have been completed according to the timetable. All the sampling and the assessment have been carried out adopting security measures in compliance with COVID 19 authorities provisions.

COUNTERMEASURE PLAN TO ENSURE THE PROJECT'S PROGRESS (EVEN IN REDUCED MODE) SHOULD A SECOND COVID-19 PANDEMIC WAVE IN THE AUTUMN - WINTER 2020

If a second COVID-19 pandemic wave will occur in the winter 2020, the project activities at risk will mainly relate to dissemination (training courses with producers and workshops with authorities). The field tests that will start in November 2020 (horse bean in Italy) will finish within June 2021, it means that it may coincide with the new pandemic wave. In this case, horse bean seeding will be postponed to spring 2021. It is necessary to underline that in no one of the test area there was, in the first pandemic wave, a very important risk and anyway, all the risks were managed by procedures and Personal Protective Equipment.  If the emergency will continue beyond 2021 spring period, the possibility of requesting a time extension to recover activities that cannot be carried out will be assessed.