Producing (micro-) biologically high quality compost is a prerequisite to ensure its long term sells, without harming the environment but to enhance plant vigor and health.
High quality composts are by far not wastes, they are valuable ingredients in modern plant production.
Compost influences plant growth and its health indirectly by enhancing the growing conditions (by providing nutrients, especially of micro nutrients and by improving soil conditions and water retention capacity).
Less known are the direct acting positive effects. High quality composts are not inert materials, they are carriers of living organisms. At the phase of ripening, antagonistic microorganisms build up that prevent plants from plant disease infection effectively.
Disease suppression is not restricted on special designed laboratory tests only, it also occurs in commercial outdoor applications, when such compost are applied correctly. A main activity of Biophyt Ltd is to get more detailed knowledge about these mechanisms to implement these experiences into existing plant growing systems.
For more than ten years Biophyt Ltd works on exploring these effects to optimize compost making and it's application. In this respect the effects on the environment and the plants have to get in consideration. The investigations of Biophyt Ltd is strongly application oriented. The fare most part investigations hence are done on compost plants or with commercial compost users. The activities of these investigations include the whole range of compost making. Including fresh material collecting, fermentation monitoring and control, storage management and application of composts:ln der Rohmaterialien, über die Rotteführung und die Lagerung bis zur Anwendung:
- Aptitude and limits for different materials used in composting.
- Optimization of waste collection concepts to increase the quality of fresh materials to be used for composting.
- Impacts of composts on the environment.
- Optimization in managing the fermenting processes (Preparation and mixing of the fresh materials, application of additives, controlling of aeration etc.). The optimization has to be adapted to each composting system and to each situation individually. The objectives of fermenting are manyfold: Reduction of the emissions (odours, waste waters ....), increasing of the material flow capacity, enhancement and holding a high quality standard of the composts.
- Development of biotests to quantify the biological compost qualities.
- Optimization of storing and conditioning of composts.
- Optimization of compost application (Evaluation of the compost for appropriate use).
- Development of products on compost base (for example plant growing substrates) and optimization of their application.
ll these activities are carried out in close cooperation with commercial compost producers (Gerber-Gemüsebau, CH-Fehraltorf; Leureko AG, CH-Laufenburg; Kompostieranlage La Coulette, CH-Belmont; Roger Germanier et Fils SA, CH-Lavigny; etc.), with research institutes (ETH-Zürich, Gruppe Phytopathologie; FiBL, CH-Frick; etc.) and in common with offices having expertise in composting (Dr. Konrad Schleiss, Umwelt- und Kompostberatung, CH-Grenchen; Dr. Ueli Galli, Terra Nova Umweltberatung GmbH, CH-Breitenbach; etc.).
Quality control in compost making is a prerequisite to ensure long term sells of composts.
Compost producing is a highly complex process that already starts with the incoming fresh materials to the compost plant and still continuous after the compost has left the plant. Therefore the controlling can not be reduced on processes within the production plant only.
The collection process of fresh materials has implications on the quality of the end product. Especially these materials with a low content of branches and fibers have to be brought in controlled fermenting with high priority. It was found that with failed start of the fermentation processes it became very difficult to get quality products.
The correct handling of the fermentation processes is more important than the devices and equipments of the compost plant. With almost any composting system it is possible to produce quality product. But also with almost any system no value composts can be produced. A good knowledge and more over long time expertise are key for a correct handling of the fermentation processes.
Finally it has to keep in mind that storing of micro biologically active materials, as ripe composts are, have to be constantly provided with a minimum amount of oxygene. Inappropriate storage conditions led to anaerobic conditions causing clear deterioration of the biological quality of composts.
A realistic quality concept for compost has to include the complete range from collecting of fresh materials to the storing and the application of the composts. For each process stage a good monitoring is needed to intervene in time. Standard controls can not be reduced to observing and to physical and chemical samples. Controlling of compost quality and plant growing media primarily includes precise and specific biotests. In contrast to the chemical analysis, that gives us only a narrow punctual value, biotests allow us a broader view about quality responding on the overall complex of the composts. In other words the roots of our test plants investigate the composts as well as the plant growing media in it's complete complexity.
Dr. Konrad Schleiss (Umwelt- und Kompostberatung) and Dr. Ueli Galli (Terra Nova Umweltberatung GmbH)
Guaranteeing the quality level of produced composts can not be realized if this knowledge is hold back by the scientists. This knowledge has to be transfered to staff persons of the compost plants. They not just have to know it. They also have to be able to interpret the results and to react correctly according to their interpretations of the results. In cooperation with Dr. Konrad Schleiss (Umwelt- und Kompostberatung) and Dr. Ueli Galli (Terra Nova Umweltberatung GmbH) Biophyt Ltd, developed for ASCP (Association of Swiss Compost and Methanisation Plants) the quality guide lines for composts and sewage from biogas plants and more over initiated a training, education and controlling concept for skilled staff members of compost plants.
Training and education
Training and education of compost plant staff members is key for making and for correct applying high quality composts. These persons have to get the basic knowledge of the biological fermenting processes and the knowhow on handling them correctly. They have to be enabled in carrying out simple analyses and biotests as well as to interpret their outcomes correctly.
Biophyt Ltd offers a set of different training and education programs. Biophyt Ltd provides individually adapted training courses to staff members of compost plants. Depending on the needs of the plant, courses can be organized as a single block or can be split into shorter sections over a certain time span. In later case the knowledge up building can be supported by practical applications of the staff in the time in between two training sessions. The results will then be discussed among the participants.
Another important training and education activity of Biophyt Ltd. is part of the general education and training concept for ASCP (Association of Swiss Compost and Methanisation Plants). In common with Dr. Konrad Schleiss (Umwelt- und Kompostberatung) and Dr. Ueli Galli (Terra Nova Umweltberatung GmbH) Biophyt Ltd has developed an education and training concept for staff members of compost and biogas plants. The courses base on a modular concept and include practical training and information on the basic biological processes. Biophyt Ltd., Terra Nova Umweltberatung GmbH and Dr. Konrad Schleiss founded 2005 the indtitut for education Educompost GmbH, which offer the different courses.
Besides of these activities Biophyt Ltd offers on demand special information, presentation and courses on all the different aspects on composting. These activities also can be integrated in ongoing curses and training programs. They especially will be adapted to the needs of the organizer. So Biophyt Ltd regularly is invited by Universities and other education institutions as guest teacher.
Biophyt Ltd consults compost plants, provider of plant growth media on compost base, user of composts and the administration. The consulting activities covers all aspects of composting:
- Planning of green waste management concepts
- Planning of compost plans (new plants or renovations)
- Quality control
- Optimization of fermentation processes
- Development and production of compost based plant growing media
- Application of composts
- Public relation
For further information please contact Biophyt Ltd.
Biophyt Ltd offers a manifold set of biotests and services. Usually these services are integrated parts of projects, but they also can be ordered separately:
- Determining the phytotoxicity of composts and other plant growing media.
- Characterization of the potentials of composts to suppress plant diseases.
- Determining the phytosanitary status of composts and other plant growing media
- Defining of the reception potential for plant diseases of composts and other plant growing mediaten
- Analyses of the organization of compost plants and their optimization
- Supervision of quality controlling of compost plants
For further information please contact Biophyt Ltd.