Workshop in the use of FT-IR for evaluating humification in marine-based composts
The MARIGREEN project aims at upgrading poorly utilized residual materials from the BLUE value chain for application as fertilizers and biostimulants in organic agriculture. MARIGREEN_TECB consists of a capacity-building and knowledge-transfer workshop bringing together PhD candidates affiliated with MARIGREEN and experts in composting, humic substances, Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) analysis, chemical analysis, and horticulture. The workshop is organized by the Norwegian Centre for Organic Agriculture (NORSØK) where marine-based composts and fertilizers for the MARIGREEN project are being made, and will be held at the University of Agronomic Sciences and Veterinary Medicine (USAMV) in Romania where the products are being analyzed and tested in field trials. Among the topics to be discussed is utilizing FTIR for the determination of humic acid (HA) content in raw materials and mature compost. HA content and the ratio between HA and fulvic acid (FA) are often used as indicators for compost maturity and quality. Traditional analysis involves chemical extraction and is time consuming and costly. FTIR analysis takes only a few minutes per sample and is a valuable method for rapidly measuring the level of humification (i.e., completeness of decomposition) and evaluating product quality, which saves time and money for both researchers and composting practitioners. However, interpretation of the spectra requires special competence and the aid of statistical tools, competence that MARIGREEN partners do not possess. This project will add impact to MARIGREEN by transferring valuable knowledge about process optimization for making marine-based composts and fertilizers and about novel methods for determining compost quality. It will also be an oppotunity for young researchers from MARIGREEN to build their professional network.