Andrew Ward, a biotechnologist from the South Australian Research and Development Institute, has found a way of using pig waste to benefit aquaculture, irrigation and energy.
Ward has created a "waste food chain" that uses processed pig excrement as a nutrient source for algae, which can in turn be grown for aquaculture. The process of making the waste safe for algae to grow in produces methane gas, which has energy applications. The food chain that results from the algae growth eventually produces zooplankton, which clean the water they're in so well that it can be used for irrigation.
"We can turn waste into food, save money, save water and improve the environment just by being a bit smarter," said Ward. "We are hoping this research will lead to elimination of the environmental concerns and costs associated with waste disposal, and that the wastes themselves can be transformed into new and diversified business opportunities." Ward's work will be presented for the first time in public at Fresh Science, a communication bootcamp for early career scientists.