Insect dung can be used to make sustainable fertilizer-and help plants cope with climate change


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this week:

  • Insect dung can be used to make sustainable fertilizer-and help plants cope with climate change
  • Clean up the Gulf of Mexico
  • This Alberta craft brewery is using carbon capture to reuse the carbon dioxide in its beer

Insect dung can be used to make sustainable fertilizer-and help plants cope with climate change

(Bryer Stewart/Canadian Broadcasting Corporation)

Experts say it is the oldest fertilizer and can be found in almost every ecosystem-so why don’t we scoop more insect dung onto our home gardens and greenhouse crops?

Insect manure-also known as “dung”-contains all the conventional nutrients you expect from high-quality manure, including nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Compared with traditional fertilizers, only a small part of it has a long way to go go.

Frass also has applications in climate change.A kind Study in 2019 Research published in the journal Applied Soil Ecology shows that grass residues produced by yellow mealworms on a low-fat, low-starch diet can help protect plants from climate change events.

“One of the effects of climate change is increased temperatures, which can lead to droughts and even floods,” said Louise Hénault-Ethier, director of the Eau Terre Environmental Research Center in Quebec City. “Tebello can help plants tolerate these non-biological or non-biological stressors.”

What makes this undigested mixture an excellent fertilizer is a key ingredient that is not naturally contained in the fertilizer produced by mammals: chitin. Chitin is a rich natural polymer and structural component that can form the cell wall of fungi and the exoskeleton of arthropods (such as insects and spiders).

When plants are exposed to chitin, their immune system marks the polymer as a marker that threatens fungi or insects. Although chitin does not actually harm plants, it triggers an immune response that is beneficial to plant health.

“Although chitin is not injected into plants, it is a bit like a vaccine,” Hénault-Ethier said. “If you have not been exposed to COVID, you will not develop antibodies against COVID, but if you are vaccinated, then you will begin to develop elements that help protect you.”

Hénault-Ethier said that frass is being studied as a potential organic alternative to toxic pesticides. In the current drive to feed insects as a new source of protein, she said that insect feces may be as valuable as insects themselves—if not more.

“Insect farmers are first of all turf producers, because they produce two to three times as much turf as insects,” said Hénault-Ethier, who is also an associate professor at the National Institute of Science in Quebec (INRS). .

Although laboratory data looks promising, frass cannot be marketed as an insecticide because the insecticide needs to be registered with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, which requires extensive safety testing and certification of the substance’s ability to manage pests.

Frass also faces some regulatory hurdles, as manure is defined as a product from mammals or birds in Canada.

“Now, insect farmers in Canada run [small-scale] Operations,” Hénault-Ethier said. “So they don’t have the financial means to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to register their products with the Canadian government. This will kill the market. “

Nevertheless, the market is still expanding. Last year, the insect farming company Aspire Food Group announced plans to build a 150,000 square foot cricket farm in London, Ontario.

The construction of the project has been completed more than half, and the facility will start production early next year. But in Texas, where the company is headquartered, Aspire is already selling its own cricket grass as a soil supplement and plant protection agent.

“Most of our business will actually come from the pet food market and the fertilizer or soil amendment market,” said Mohammed Ashour, co-founder and CEO of Aspire. “Because for every pound of crickets, we produce about one pound of crickets.”

Jade Prévost-Manuel

Reader feedback

Last week, Thais Grandisoli wrote an article about new research, suggesting The earth has a geological “pulse” of 27.5 million years. Reader response:

William Hughes game: “Just think about the 27.5 million-year geological cycle. Will it happen after all the continents have gathered into one big continent? The logic is that the continents insulate the core of the world, which will cause heat to accumulate until it may suddenly (from a geological point of view) in these major A breakthrough in one of the events.”

Doug Tati: “It would be interesting to share data with astronomers for their analysis. We were told that the event that led to the extinction of the dinosaurs was an asteroid or comet impact. Does the Earth pass through a belt every 27.5 million times?”

What are the old problems on earth? right here.

There is also a radio show and podcast! Extreme weather is usually regarded as a physical problem. But eight years after the historic flooding of the Gao River in Alta Province, the town’s recovery shows that climate disasters can cause long-term damage to mental health and provides lessons for how to help. this week, what happened A special documentary about what can be learned from High River was shown. what happened It will be broadcast in Newfoundland on Sunday at 12:30 pm and 1 pm.Subscribe to your favorite podcast app or listen on demand at Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.


The big picture: clean up the Gulf of Mexico

Late last week, we looked at the huge fire images in the waves of the Gulf of Mexico in confusion and fear. As more than one Twitter user pointed out, It looks like the eye of Sauron, A chilling reference Lord of the Rings series. The Mexican national oil company Pemex, whose oil rig can be seen nearby, blamed the fire on a natural gas leak from an underwater pipeline. The company stated that the fire was extinguished after 5 hours, but the images were indelible and triggered another bigger disaster in the Gulf region: the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, when the drilling platform exploded and the oil spill lasted 87 day. The Gulf of Mexico has long been a source of deep-water oil, but since then there is increasing pressure to clean up the chaos.Prior to the “Fire Eye” spill on Friday, the US Federal Court issued a ruling that compelled the world’s largest oil company. Co-payment of US$7.2 billion to eliminate hundreds of oil wells in the GulfThe case depends on whether Fieldwood Energy, which currently controls these oil wells and seeks bankruptcy protection, can transfer its responsibility to the former oil well owner and its insurance company. ExxonMobil, which opposes the plan, estimates that its cleanup costs alone may reach 373 million U.S. dollars; BP estimates their revenue is 300 million U.S. dollars.

(Manuel Lopez Saint Martin/Twitter)

Popularity and annoyance: provocative ideas from the Internet


This craft brewery is using carbon capture to reuse the carbon dioxide in its beer

(Emilio Avalos/Canadian Broadcasting Corporation)

A company in central Alberta is adopting a unique method of carbon capture: supplying part of its emissions in beer.

The brewery produces carbon dioxide during the fermentation process, and they use carbon dioxide to carbonate the beer. Therefore, a company in central Alberta is taking the seemingly logical next step to become the first small brewery in Canada to use carbon capture technology to recover these emissions.

Blindman Brewing, located in Lacombe, Alta, spends about $60,000 a year on carbon dioxide tanks to provide their beer with a perfect refreshing taste. However, during the fermentation process, yeast will eat up sugar and produce alcohol and carbon dioxide as by-products.

Now, breweries will capture this carbon dioxide, wash and compress it, carbonate their beer and run canning lines—thus reducing their emissions and bringing the purchase of carbon dioxide to near zero.

Kirk Zembal, the co-founder of the brewery, said that he spent five years researching suitable equipment, which was purchased with the help of a grant from Alberta Emission Reduction (ERA), which was a development aid Non-profit plan for technological innovation.

“When you have these simple, emission-reducing and financially feasible ideas, these are all win-wins,” he said.

The device is about the size of a refrigerator and was designed by Earthly Labs, headquartered in Texas, for small breweries. It cost $200,000, half of which was borne by ERA.

Zembal estimates that his company will capture approximately 100 tons of carbon dioxide.

“There are 1,100 other craft breweries in Canada, 7,000 or 8,000 in the United States, and tens of thousands around the world. If we can all adopt such equipment, then we are now having a huge impact.”

He said that this investment is expected to pay for itself in two to three years.

The carbon capture program to be installed this summer is just one of the steps for the brewery to go green, while installing solar arrays and recycling its plastic tank racks.

The brewery is working with Olds College to develop a data set on emissions reduction and profitability, so it can share its experience with other breweries across the country that are interested in environmentally friendly processes.

“I think the spirit of craft beer has been incorporated into the spirit of doing better. You know, we all really need to reduce carbon emissions,” Zembal said.

Sarah Rigg

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Editor: Andre Mayer | Logo Design: Managed McNalty





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