New O+Deliveries published to help phase-out antibiotics and peat

Two new deliveries are available on the Organic-PLUS website: www.organic-plus.net/resources/deliverables. They are researching very different solutions for organic livestock and organic horticulture, but have a common thread researching bio-economy, based-plant products as alternatives to currently used contentious inputs.

The livestock research is aimed at phasing out antibiotics, antiparasitics and synthetic vitamins and comprised of trials on: (1) essential oils and nature identical compounds testing as antimicrobials, (2) plant extract testing as antiparasitic, and (3) chemical analysis of essential oils, essential oils active compounds and antioxidant/immunostimulants.

Oregano
Oregano essential oil chromatograms obtained by GC/MS technique, DB-WAX column (preliminary data, Source: University of Parma) 

The research for horticulture is aimed at phasing out peat as growing media in horticulture and comprised of trials testing extruded ligoncellulosic materials from across Europe (e.g. from agroforestry, forests or orchards) for their suitability as fibres in peat substitutes especially to replace lighter materials still added to wood-based peat compost like vermiculite (a mined product mostly imported from the USA, Brazil, South-Africa and China; today mines are regularly tested for asbestos contamination and the USA/Montana mine at Libby with asbestos contamination has been closed in the 1990s). More on on-farm wood-based compost see this Grower videos: Wood innovation to phase-out peat.

Extrustion
Illustration of the extruder at O+ partner ATB: Wood chips enter the extruder and are crushed by the twin screws to fibres (orange arrows), while steam and additives are added during processing (blue arrows). The fibres exit the twin screw extruder via a 5 – 35 mm aperture [Source ATB].

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