Earthworm short-term response to dairy wastewater applied to a Salix plantation

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Odour is one problem in the management of waste water from dairy, thus the organic Thise Dairy has developed an all year round solution releasing the waste water into underground tubes at 30 cm depth in a willow energy crop plantation established in 2013. The wastewater contains 0.3% dry matter, 150 mg L-1 N, 2 g salt L-1 of mainly sodium chloride, and a COD of 1100 mg -1 .

Thousand m3 wastewater ha-1 was applied from Oct. 15 to Oct. 31, corresponding to 6.5 mm precipitation per day. Neighbour plots distant 20-30 m apart, one within the wastewater treated area and one just outside in the untreated control willow area, were established in Oct. 2017 and considered (non-randomized) blocks. In other words this was a Before-After-Control-Impact (BACI) design. Plots were sampled to estimate earthworm abundance one week before and one week after treatment (map link: goo.gl/tvvMuF). The willow was surrounded by an agricultural field with a history of wastewater fertilisation subject to an exploratory sampling.
- We found seven species of earthworms in the willow and five in the agricultural soil. Juveniles of A. tuberculata, A. caliginosa, L. herculeus, L. castaneus, are morphologically intrageneric indistinguishable, so they were lumped together in their genus, e.g. Lumbricus sp. and Aporrectodea sp.

- The pairwise positioned plots were very similar except for one pair.
- A behavioural response after wastewater underground application was observed for L. herculeus with increased fresh biomass by 50% compared to the paired control plot (Fig. 3). In general no acute harmful effects was detected from wastewater application.
- The willow earthworm community since its establishment in 2013 had developed into a composition more typical for undisturbed soil and managed forests as it is favored by the absence of tillage in the willow .

Original languageEnglish
Publication year15 Mar 2018
StatePublished - 15 Mar 2018
EventCBIO seminar: New possibilities for interdisciplinary research, industrial cooperation and knowledge exchange in the circular bioeconomy - AU Foulum, Blichers Allé 20, 8830 Tjele, Foulum, Denmark
Duration: 15 Mar 201815 Mar 2018
Conference number: 2

Seminar

SeminarCBIO seminar: New possibilities for interdisciplinary research, industrial cooperation and knowledge exchange in the circular bioeconomy
Number2
LocationAU Foulum, Blichers Allé 20, 8830 Tjele
CountryDenmark
CityFoulum
Period15/03/201815/03/2018

    Research areas

  • cbio, CBIO

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