Friday, May 10, 2013

A Microcosm System for Looking at Decomposition of Horseshit

This work is being done to provide data towards the creation of the BioShaft, a project under development with designer Domenico D'Alessandro.  The BioShaft is a soils-based treatment system for the decomposition of human fecal waste.  The decomposition products will fertilize a green wall and other urban vegetated systems.  Our initial work at DePaul uses horse manure as a surrogate for human waste and is designed to examine to rate of decomposition and the efficacy of leachates as fertilizer.

For more on the BioShaft design see here

We set up the first of our experimental systems today:

Our horse manure.  Each student used approx 30 g of manure.

The manure is place into a microcosm (we are using a Nalgene filtration unit). 

A piece of manure is surrounded by one of three treatments: garden soil, mulch or perlite.  To these will be added a microbial treatment to accelerate microbial decomposition.

Each unit has approx 800 ml of substrate that surrounds the unit.

18 microcosms were prepared today!

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