A Novel Method for Combined Biowaste Stabilization and Production of Nitrate-Rich Liquid Fertilizer for Use in Organic Horticulture Academic Article uri icon


  • A novel system for organic waste stabilization and reuse, combined with production of nitrate-rich liquid fertilizer was developed by manure digestion followed by volatilization of ammonia-rich gas (originating in manure extract) and its nitrification and recovery. This approach has several advantages, including biowaste stabilization and high recovery (over 60%) of manure N mainly as nitrate which is a better N form for many plants as compared to ammonium as the sole fertilizer N. Moreover, the potential utilization of different wastes as N sources in organic horticulture is possible as well as removal of suspended particles and microorganisms (including pathogens) that might otherwise clog the irrigation system and pose health risks, respectively. In a pilot-scale study, the system yielded several hundred liters of nitrate-rich (ca. 11 g N L−1) liquid fertilizer using guano as substrate. In a fertilization experiment, lettuce fertigated with the nitrate-rich extract exhibited better growth and quality compared to the common organic practice of fertigation with guano extract. The resulting stabilized biowaste was estimated as “low-risk” according to current guidelines and may be used for liming or land application.

publication date

  • January 1, 2012