Stanford researchers showcased analysis advancing meals methods change on Thursday on the inaugural Stanford Meals Institute Analysis Symposium hosted by Residential and Eating Enterprises (R&DE). The mission of the occasion was a collaboration between researchers, a few of whom offered their work in areas similar to extracting fertilizer from wastewater and enhancing soil high quality with compost.
The symposium was the brainchild of Anna Gomes, a third-year Ph.D. scholar in Earth methods science. Gomes first reached out to Director of the Stanford Meals Institute Sophie Egan a yr in the past to create an occasion that may foster a neighborhood of food-related researchers.
“After this symposium, the presenters can have met one another and realized about one another’s work and impacts,” Gomes stated. “We will construct this neighborhood and have future occasions the place we are able to come again collectively and help one another.”
Following a networking occasion for researchers, Assistant Vice Provost of Stanford Eating, Housing & Auxiliaries Eric Montell opened the occasion, expressing gratitude for the planning committee. Referring to Dr. Shirley Everett, the Senior Affiliate Vice Provost for R&DE who didn’t attend the occasion, Montell expressed R&DE’s “mission to advance analysis, schooling, coverage, enterprise, and apply to advertise a holistic method to enhancing what folks eat, how they entry meals and the position that meals performs in our lives.”
“My honest because of Dr. Everett for her compelling imaginative and prescient and continued strategic management for this expansive analysis program,” Montell stated. “Our objective is at all times to create a brighter meals future that features college, employees and most significantly college students within the course of, and one which helps a various and inclusive neighborhood.”
Egan took the stage subsequent expressing her pleasure in regards to the occasion. “It’s the primary time that employees, college, college students and alumni are coming collectively from all disciplines throughout campus to share their analysis, change concepts and foster collaborations to advance meals methods change at Stanford and past,” Egan stated.
Gomes, who led the creation of the Symposium, offered her analysis on the occasion, which examines how varieties of built-in nutrient administration, similar to combining compost with urine-recovered ammonium fertilizer, have an effect on soil and plant well being.
Her mission demonstrated the significance of wealthy natural matter in soil by submerging a soil pattern in a jar of water. This pattern was wealthy in natural matter which secretes glues, holding the soil collectively even on this rain-like situation. In distinction, Gomes defined how soil with out a lot natural matter would come aside in torrential rains. She used this demonstration to emphasise the significance of soil well being, mentioning how nitrogen and carbon content material is important not just for vegetation, but additionally for the soil.
As well as, Gomes’s analysis compares the nitrogen and carbon content material of compost samples from rural and concrete areas to enhance soil well being. Whereas exhibiting attendees the units she makes use of to measure completely different soil gases, Gomes pointed to the sales space subsequent to her, which highlighted the work of second-year earth methods science Ph.D. scholar Jack Lamb, whose analysis issues rice irrigation methods in California, to point out how collaborations between completely different meals and agriculture researchers helps progress analysis within the discipline.
“Now we have a chamber that measures carbon dioxide, however we’re additionally all for nitrous oxide, the opposite large greenhouse fuel. [Lamb is] constructing low-cost chambers that measure completely different soil gases,” Gomes stated.
Gomes additionally launched one other probability analysis collaboration with Dean Miller, a third-year Ph.D. scholar in chemical engineering. Miller’s analysis, which he offered on the symposium, is targeted on methods to extract fertilizer from wastewater.
“Successfully what we’re making an attempt to do is take agricultural wastewaters and municipal wastewaters, and switch these two sources into handled water and purified nitrogen fertilizer,” Miller stated.
Miller defined that agricultural and municipal wastewaters have two completely different types of nitrogen as nitrate and urine. Their analysis group designed a reactor that may individually extract each varieties of nitrogen to type one remaining pure product.
“We’re discovering that it’s really actually power environment friendly to supply our fertilizers this manner,” Miller stated. “Each time you urinate, you’re producing between 4 and 5 grams of nitrogen. You may put that in your hand and that’s quite a lot of nitrogen that we’re getting.”
Gomes highlighted that the Symposium was meant to foster collaborations and conversations similar to these between Miller and her.
“We have been considering ‘how can we [initiate conversations] extra and on a much bigger scale?’” Gomes stated. “He’s in a totally completely different constructing. If I’m in a basement sieving soil, I’m not interacting with all [the other researchers in similar fields]. But it surely’s actually cool to study [about their projects].”