BSE Associate Professor Jactone Arogo Ogejo is leading a USDA grant: “Explor- ing microbial transformations during liquid manure storage to improve nitrogen man- agement on dairy farms” (collaborators: Biswarup Mukhopadhyay (biochemistry) and Matthias Chung (math)). During storage, up to 60% of nitrogen (N) in manure can be lost to the atmosphere through volatilization of reactive N gases, presenting potential challenges to the health of our environment, as well as a loss of the fertilizer value of the manure. Typically, N loss from stored dairy manure is rooted in the microbial activities and other biogeochemical processes. This study seeks to develop meaningful and/or ef- fective mitigation technologies to minimize N loss from these structures. To achieve this desired outcome, it is paramount to understand the microbial communities and associated biogeochemical processes occurring during manure storage. The long term goal of this study is to uncover the complex interaction of the microbial, chemical, and physical pro- cesses that occur during manure storage with respect to N. The specific objectives are to: (1) assess and quantify active microbial consortia and their summative effects on the fate and transformation of N and carbon (C) in liquid dairy manure during storage under normal operating conditions on-farm and (2) link the microbial consortia, N and C transformations in manure and losses of N (e.g. ammo-nia, nitrous oxide) and C (methane and carbon dioxide) to the atmosphere during storage. The outcome of this work will increase the understanding of microbial driven transformation and losses of N during manure stor- age, which will be useful in improving decision support tools and pro- cess-based models for evaluating N cycling and in identifying and de- signing suitable strategies to minimize N losses to the environment during manure storage. Both field and laboratory experiments will be conducted to collect data to be used in developing the new knowledge about N loss from stored manure.
BSE Associate Professor Jactone Arogo Ogejo