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Integral Management of Organic Waste

The program of Integral Management of Organic Waste (GIRO) constitutes IRTA’s research branch on Environmental Science and Technology in Agribusiness. The group’s main focus is the characterization of emissions threatening the environment (atmosphere, water, and soil), as well as the development and implementation of advanced waste management and treatment strategies for a sustainable production. Our approach is founded in the interdisciplinary interaction of agronomical and environmental engineers, chemists, and microbiologists.

AREAS OF EXPERTISE

Agronomical valorisation

Utilization potential of organic by-products and wastes as agricultural fertilizers and soil enhancers.

  • Physicochemical characterization of organic materials in relation to parameters that are related to its fertilizer value.
  • Chemical analysis of water and wastewater samples, with a focus on the presence of nutrients and organic compounds.
  • In-depth description of microbial communities from organic substrates, soil and water with molecular culture-independent methods, with a focus on potential hytopathogens and opportunistic microbes, as well as other environmentally relevant microorganisms.

Environmental monitoring and management

Implementation of advanced tools for environmental impact assessment and as a support in the decision taking-process.

  • Industrial hygiene and characterization of environmental hazards related to chemical and microbial pollution.
  • Analysis of environmental emissions (wastes, waters, and gases) from livestock, farmhouses and other agrosystems,as well as from the industrial sector in general.
  • Identification of microbial species (Eubacteria,Archaeobacteria, and Fungi) in relation specific bioprocesses, biodeterioration of materials, potential pathogens and microbes bearing antibiotic resistance genes, etc.
  • Geographical studies on land use, bioresources (energy, nutrient, and biomass), and environmental assessment. Implementation of LCA methodologies.

Environmental Technology

  • Development and validation of different (bio)techniques for the prevention of environmental pollution.
  • Fundamental research on new biotechnological concepts (i.e. bioelectrochemical systems, biological gas treatment, etc.).
  • Technologies for nutrient removal/recovery (stripping, struvite precipitation, NDN, anammox, etc.).
  • Biogas valorisation of organic wastes by anaerobic (co-)digestion. Determination of the biochemical methane potential (BMP) of complex organic substrates.
  • Bioremediation of soil and groundwater pollution (petroleum hydrocarbons, organohalogens, pesticide residues, emerging pollutants, etc.).
  • Set-up, test operation, and evaluation of bioprocesses at lab-scale, and scaling up to pilot-scale bioreactor units.
  • Consulting and monitoring of full-scale waste and wastewater installations, as well as agricultural systems.

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