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Recycle of Inorganic Nutrients for Hydroponic Crop Production Following Incineration of Inedible BiomassRecovery of resources from waste streams is essential for future implementation and reliance on a regenerative life support system. The major waste streams of concern are from human activities and plant wastes. Carbon, water and inorganics are the primary desired raw materials of interest. The goal of resource recovery is maintenance of product quality to insure support of reliable and predictable levels of life support function performance by the crop plant component. Further, these systems must be maintained over extended periods of time, requiring maintenance of nutrient solutions to avoid toxicity and deficiencies. Today, reagent grade nutrients are used to make nutrient solutions for hydroponic culture and these solutions are frequently changed during the life cycle or sometimes managed for only one crop life cycle. The focus of this study was to determine the suitability of the ash product following incineration of inedible biomass as a source of inorganic nutrients for hydroponic crop production. Inedible wheat biomass was incinerated and ash quality characterized. The incinerator ash was dissolved in adequate nitric acid to establish a consistent nitrogen concentration in all nutrient solution treatments. Four experimental nutrient treatments were included: control, ash only, ash supplemented to match control, and ash only quality formulated with reagent grade chemicals. When nutrient solutions are formulated using only ash following-incineration of inedible biomass, a balance in solution is established representing elemental retention following incineration and nutrient proportions present in the original biomass. The resulting solution is not identical to the control. This imbalance resulted in suppression of crop growth. When the ash is supplemented with nutrients to establish the same balance as in the control, growth is identical to the control. The ash appears to carry no phytotoxic materials. Growth in solution formulated with reagent grade chemicals but matching the quality of the ash only treatment resulted in growth similar to that of the ash only treatment. The ash product resulting from incineration of inedible biomass appears to be a suitable form for recycle of inorganic nutrients to crop production.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Bubenheim, David L. (NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA United States)
Wignarajah, Kanapathipillai (Lockheed Martin Engineering and Sciences Co. United States)
Kliss, Mark H.
Date Acquired
August 20, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1996
Subject Category
Environment Pollution
Meeting Information
31st COSPAR Scientific Assembly(Birmingham)
Funding Number(s)
OTHER: ISSN 199-61-62
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.