Newsletter March 2021. Our tests taste like more.
Within the framework of Fiber2Fiber, we have worked hard with the entire alliance within Natural Soil Improvement in recent months to process the results of the tests from the past growing season. That was quite a bit of chewing on the results of the tests. The saying may be “to measure is to know”, but then you first have to know what you are measuring.
But when the results are finally available and they are good, then it makes you want more. Hence our spring fever: we just can’t wait to plant plants to pull the next round of tests from the Huissense clay. Well, clay isn’t quite the right term.
The first positive results concern the use of WWTP sludge as a substrate for the cultivation of miscanthus, the tests we are conducting with the Drents Overijsselse Delta water board. In addition, we see that with the help of mycorrhiza the plants do their job well and break down harmful substances into substances useful for the plant on which it can grow nicely. For the coming year, another point of attention will be how the rhizosphere in the pot develops during the growing season. NIOO-KNAW will investigate this.
The results with regard to the breaking down of asbestos are also positive and this year we want to start a field test to see whether the fungi also nibble the asbestos in the open air.
What is new is that we have found that we are also able to break down PFAS in the soil. This is surprising because the question was of course whether PFAS had enough “nutritional value” for the plants to actually be eaten. But our motto for the tests is that the plant must eat what is in the pot… and it turns out that it works. All this has led to the collaboration within the alliance with the Westerdijk Institute, which will further investigate the breakdown of PFAS by mycorrhiza.
We will present the results of our project ‘Dredging, cuttings and grass clippings as a regional soil improver based on Brickz’ on 23 March at a digital symposium. We do this from our mycoretum, which is already beautifully situated and where we have decorated the vineyard Corona proof very tastefully. We now have a total of 35 participants, all from our own network, with whom we will work interactively to see if the results can also be useful for them.
Significant progress is also being made with the ‘Easily Sustainably’ (Met Gemak Duurzaam) project, in which we refine paper disposables together with Conpax, among other things, to extract the sugars and proteins here in addition to the fibers. Ebo Dam from Desto has made a whole test setup with our composter called “Holle Bolle Gijs” at the end, which digests the residual flows into potting soil on which we grow our plants and make Brickz. Unfortunately for Holle Bolle Gijs, the tests show that Ebo is well able to get all the goodies out of the disposables first.
Finally, the Biological Conversion project, in which we work together with Wereld van Papier, brewery Vet en Lazy and Oultander Materials. Here, as a test, we cultivated hops on Brickz made from beer brush and other residual flows. The hops were then harvested and used in the beer of Vet and Lazy. Unfortunately, we have not yet been able to taste the result of this test. But we have a taste for it and this year we are going to scale up, including collaborating with Bavaria.
In short, it is clear: you can argue about taste, but not about our test results.