Ava and Evelina join us to investigate fate of mussel toxins in BSFL treatment

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Hi, our names are Ava & Evelina. We are two 17 year old girls in our final year studying Natural science (Naturvetenskap) at Rosendalsgymnasiet. For nearly three years we’ve been studying topics based around scientific subjects. Part of our studies consists of a scientific rapport, called a Gymnasiearbete (highschool diploma work), a requirement needed to graduate next summer. Throughout the next couple of weeks we’ll be doing laboratory work in the Department of Energy and Technology at SLU. We intend on focusing on the link between larvae and algae infected mussels from the Baltic Sea. We’ll be guided by Viktoria Wiklicky and Dr Cecilia Lalander who will help us in carrying out our studies.

Visit from our Estonian collaborators

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Keeping a viable and productive Black Soldier Fly colony up and running can be hard sometimes, this is why it is great to have international relationships and colleagues to help you out when your colony needs to be replaced. Our Black Soldier Fly colleagues from Estonia picked up their new stock of larvae from SLU last week and finally also visited SLU facilities. The newest developments on both sides were discussed over lunch and after a tour through the (new) container based fly lab, larvae were sent off to their new home at the Estonian University of Life Sciences in Tartu.

Viktoria’s visit to Benin

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Viktoria just returned from Benin which she visited in October to work together with colleagues from IITA at completing the goals of workpackage I + III in our VR funded project ‘Insect farming for feed production and organic waste management in Benin‘. Together they investigated and sampled waste streams from the south and the north of Benin and worked on improving the Black Soldier Fly colony at IITA, to secure a stable and high production of Black Soldier Fly larvae for future waste treatments. The visit was ended with a fruitful final discussion, where the gained knowledge and experience was shared with the rest of the work groups, both at SLU and IITA.

IITA, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, is a non-profit institution that generates agricultural innovations to meet Africa’s most pressing challenges of hunger, malnutrition, poverty, and natural resource degradation. Working with various partners across sub-Saharan Africa, they aim to improve livelihoods, enhance food and nutrition security while increasing employment, and preserve natural resources.

About the project:

The project is funded by VR (VetenskapsrĂĄdet) and the objective is for Black Soldier Fly Farming to contribute to solving socio-economic and environmental issues in Benin by reducing the adverse impact of inadequate waste management, while at the same time improving agricultural productivity with locally sourced products.

FoodsecURe: Food security through better sanitation

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FoodsecURe: Food security through better sanitation is a NRC funded 4 year research project (2023-2027) that targets the small-scale producers around the outskirts of Bahir Dar city who also participate in the on-going EU H2020 funded project “Healthy Food Africa” (HFA). FoodsecURe is coordinated by NIBIO with Dr Divina Gracia P. Rodriguez as Project Manager, with partners including the Kretsloppsteknik group at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU), Norges Vel, Bahir-Dar University (BDU), and Amhara Regional Agricultural Research Institute. BDU office of the Healthy Food Africa project, Bahir Dar City Water Supply and Sewerage Authority, and the Bureau of Water and Energy are key stakeholders and members of the Advisory Committee of the project from the Ethiopian side.

Our latest publication on source-seperating wastewater systems in Sweden

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Legitimacy of source-separating wastewater systems with Swedish water utilities

Jennifer R. McConvillea, Elisabeth Kvarnströmb, Abdulhamid Aliahmada & Maria Lennartssonc

a Department of Energy and Technology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden; jennifer.mcconville@slu.se, Abdulhamid.aliahmad@slu.se

b Ecoloop, Stockholm Sweden; elisabeth.kvarnstrom@ecoloop.se

c Research and Development Coordinator, City of Stockholm, Stockholm, Sweden; maria.lennartsson@extern.stockholm.se

Source separation of excreta from the rest of urban wastewater flows can enable safe and efficient nutrient recovery. Yet, source-separating wastewater systems are not yet common in urban areas. The aim of this study is to assess the legitimacy of source-separating wastewater systems from the perspective of wastewater professionals in Sweden. The study uses interviews and a survey to explore the pragmatic, normative, cognitive and regulatory dimensions of legitimacy and how these aspects can vary between different municipalities. It also looks into possible knowledge-based activities to increase legitimacy. The results from this study show variations in legitimacy levels in urban areas in Sweden. Overall opinion appears to be neutral to the concept rather than negative. Although many see multiple barriers to implementation. Normative legitimacy (moral motivation) was relatively high, while cognitive legitimacy (knowledge & experiences) was lowest. Respondents from organizations where source-separation is being implemented, or they believe that it will be implemented within 10 years, generally saw more drivers and fewer barriers. These innovators were also more interested in knowledge-based activities. Overall recommendations to increase cognitive knowledge regarding source-separating systems among multiple stakeholders seems the most promising path forward to increase legitimacy in the Swedish wastewater sector.

Kick-off workshop for the FoodsecURe project at SLU

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It has been a pleasure to host the kick-off meeting of the FoodsecURe project over the past two days at SLU – Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. During the next four years, our project will evaluate how safely hashtagrecycling hashtaghumanurine can improve urban sanitation as well as livelihoods of small holder farmers in Bahir Dar, hashtagEthiopia, where urine-separating toilets already exist today.

With alkaline urine dehydration as the focal technology, we will examine how hashtagtechnological, hashtaghealth and hashtagsafety, hashtagsociocultural, hashtageconomic, hashtaginstitutional barriers to recycling urine in Bahir Dar can be overcome, and how new sanitation value chains can be developed and sustained over time. This is likely going to be a complex and tough undertaking, but our hashtagmultidisciplinary team of experts are keen to take on this challenge together.

Nikos Gyftopoulos is joining the Kretsloppsteknik-group for his master thesis project

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Hello, my name is Nikos Gyftopoulos, I am from Greece, where I did my bachelors in Biology in the National Kapodistrian University of Athens, and now I am living in Uppsala.

I am doing my master’s programme in Applied Biotechnology at Uppsala University and I am presently doing my thesis in the Department of Energy and Technology of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), with the Environmental Engineering Research Group. During the following months I intend to learn many aspects related to the bioconversion of organic wastes with black soldier fly larvae (Hermetia illucens, BSFL) and develop my thesis in this subject.

I will be supervised by Dr. IvĂŁ Guidini Lopes and Dr. Cecilia Lalander, and the project we will develop together regards evaluations of the inactivation patterns of microbial pathogens during the bioconversion of contaminated post-consumer food waste.

Degradation of poly-L-lactic acid biopolymer films in Ca(OH)2-dosed fresh human urine

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We have recently published a paper in Resources, Conservation and Recycling which looks into the possibility of using Poly-L-Lactic Acid (PLLA) biopolymer to capsulate and safely dose chemicals to human urine.

Alkaline dehydration of urine for recycling of plant essential nutrients requires fresh urine to be stabilized with alkali or metal hydroxides. Improper handling and exposure to these chemicals may cause skin or breathing irritation. Therefore, if these chemicals are wrapped inside capsules made of a biopolymer, human interaction with these chemicals can be minimized and chemicals could be passively dosed to urine. These capsules can also be used for dosing of oxidants and peroxides for the removal of micropollutants and pharmaceuticals from urine.

In the study, degradation of PLLA films in Ca(OH)2 dosed fresh urine was evaluated with temperature, thickness and pH being the variables. The results of this investigation provided some really interesting results in terms of physiochemical changes in the urine and the physical, chemical and molecular changes of the films. If you are interested to find out more and read the full article, click here: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921344923003361 .

Approaches for bridging the sanitation delivery gap in urban informal settlements in Namibia

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PC: The Namibian

Shack dwellings in informal settlements are home to a billion people worldwide. In Namibia, 40% of the population currently live in shacks. These settlements often lack land tenure and governments do not have capacity to invest in infrastructure in unplanned spaces. Therefore, they are not connected to centralised sewage systems and on-site decentralised sanitation becomes the norm.

In a paper published in the journal City and Environment Interactions, Gert van der Merwe and I explore this grey zone of urban informality and the gap in sanitation delivery in Namibia. We evaluate how local communities, non-government organisations (Clay House Project and Development Workshop Namibia) and an international development agency (GIZ Namibia) interact and navigate the physical, economic and political landscape of implementing bottom-up sanitation solutions for informal settlements. In critical analysis of the three different sanitation delivery models of these organisations, we consider their historical development, underlying philosophies and technical solutions. We also examine how products from different sanitation systems are managed and whether urine source separation could improve their management.

Our latest publication on BSFL composting

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Our latest publication on the dynamics of BSFL composting is just out in Waste management.

Around the world, many types of waste streams are (bio)converted with these insect larvae, and the treatment efficiency is dependent on the materials’ characteristics and rearing conditions. In this study, we evaluated the impact of these traits on the efficiency of this bioconversion.

We found out that the nutritional composition of waste is far from being the only factor that affect the efficiency of the bioconversion process. The number of larvae we add in one treatment unit impact on in the total yield of larval biomass (feed ingredient) up to a threshold at which point adding more seed larvae no longer increase the total yield of larval biomass. The depth and moisture of the biowaste was found to affect the larval survival and consequently, the overall process efficiency.

This study sheds light in how to establish several process parameters during waste treatment with BSFL, assisting waste managers and insect breeders on how to treat new waste streams with this insect larvae, promoting circularity in the sector.

If you are intrested to find out more, check the full article out.