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Project test sites

Test sites

Bytom test site

Poland, Bytom test site

The field experiments are carried out under the MISCOMAR+ project is located in the Upper Silesia, Southern Poland. Farming has a long tradition in that industrial region. However intensive industry activities from the past affected seriously the quality of the soils. They are either already highly contaminated or contain elevated amounts of potentially toxic elements such as Cd, Pb, As or phytotoxic Zn. Production of energy crops such as miscanthus may be not only an alternative for a safe use of the contaminated arable land but an opportunity for the region.

Therefore MISCOMAR and MISCOMAR+ projects have proposed an alternative to the farmers: biomass production which could provide economic returns on otherwise under-utilised lands. However, the commercial and environmental viability of the alternative can only be determined when the quality and chemical composition of both the feed-stocks produced and changes to the soil itself are recognised. Bytom test site has provided the answer on the suitability of the biomass produced on heavy metal contaminated soils for energy production together with the understanding of the potential for soil remediation.

 

2020 - Sixth growing season

MISCOMAR+

 

2019 - Fifth growing season

The cultivation of Miscanthus provides soil protection, i.e. prevents soil erosion and spreading of pollutants and improves its quality, Bytom, Poland, June 2019
The low weed infestation of mature Miscanthus plantations is the result of intensive plant growth and development as well as soil shading, Bytom, Poland, June 2019
As a perennial grass, Miscanthusx giganteus generally reaches maximum productivity from its third year of production, Bytom, Poland, June 2019

 

2018 - Visit at the Institute for Ecology of Industrial Areas test site

On the 27 of September 2018 at the Institute for Ecology of Industrial Areas scientists and practitioners discussed the possibilities of growing energy crops on soils contaminated with lead, cadmium and zinc and on post-industrial wastelands.

The selection of the appropriate species of energy plants allows achieving the assumed goals, such as: restoring the soil contaminated with heavy metals and improving the structure and quality of soil, as well as obtaining a high biomass yield with good parameters for processing for energy purposes. Our research confirm that Miscanthus cultivation could be safe and profitable option for marginal and contaminated lands.

IETU Test site, Bytom, Poland, September 2018
The possibilities of growing Miscanthus were also analysed in the context of current and forecasted climate changes and cultivation on soils contaminated with heavy metals, Bytom, Poland, September 2018
The impact of cooperation with farmers on the crop quality, which is particularly important for its recipients, as it allows preparation of the crop according to their requirements, Bytom, Poland, September 2018
The conducted research confirmed that cultivation of Miscanthus was possible on soils contaminated with heavy metals, without the negative impact of contamination on the quantity and quality of biomass produced, Bytom, Poland, September 2018
On the testing plot the visitors could also see other species of energy plants, including Sida hermaphrodita, Panicum virgatum L. or Spartina pectinate, Bytom, Poland, September 2018
On the testing plot the visitors could also see other species of energy plants, including Sida hermaphrodita, Panicum virgatum L. or Spartina pectinate, Bytom, Poland, September 2018

 

2018 - Third growing season

Work carried out at the Bytom test site focused on the assessment of plant growth and biomass productivity in the third miscanthus growing season. Biomass production and heavy metal uptake were determined twice, at autumn and spring harvests. The main finding of the performed analyses was that seed-based hybrids after the third growing season showed biomass production comparable to that of Miscanthus x giganteus. It was also confirmed that seed-based hybrids were characterized by lower heavy metal uptake to aboveground parts than commercial Miscanthus x giganteus, showing phytostabilisation abilities and giving the opportunity for safe biomass production on contaminated soil. In November, together with colleagues from Aberystwyth University, soil cores were resampled and analysed, among other parameters, for changes in soil organic carbon, soil porosity and heavy metal concentration. Changes after three years of Miscanthus cultivation indicated an overall positive trend in decreasing bulk density values over time, which corresponded with observations of increased porosity, as well as increased soil organic carbon.

Miscanthus biomass production and heavy metal uptake were determined twice, at autumn and early spring harvests, March 2018, Bytom, Poland
Miscanthus harvest at early spring, after winter ripening reduces the moisture content and also ensures translocation of growth nutrients back to the rhizome and reduce nutrient offtake at harvest, March 2018, Bytom, Poland
Waiting for the next growing season March 2018, Bytom, Poland
Miscanthus fields in the middle of the third growing season, July 2018, Bytom, Poland
Miscanthus fields in the middle of the third growing season, July 2018, Bytom, Poland
Miscanthus fields in the middle of the third growing season, July 2018, Bytom, Poland
Mischanthus x giganteus during the senescence in autumn. Mature plants grow up to 4 m tall, November 2018, Bytom, Poland
Miscanthus seed-based hybrids during the senescence in autumn, November 2018, Bytom, Poland
Miscanthus seed-based hybrids during the senescence in autumn, November 2018, Bytom, Poland
Mischanthus x giganteus during the senescence in autumn, November 2018, Bytom, Poland
Sampling of soil cores for the assessment of changes in soil parameters during miscanthus cultivation, November 2018, Bytom, Poland
Sampling of soil cores for the assessment of changes in soil parameters during miscanthus cultivation, November 2018, Bytom, Poland
Soil cores (0-100 cm) November 2018, Bytom, Poland

 

2017 - Second growing season

Work carried out at the Bytom test site focused on the assessment of plant growth and biomass productivity in the second growing season. Two Miscanthus seed-based hybrids which have not survived the first winter were replaced by new, more frost resistant ones.

Analysing plant physiological parameters measurements it was found, that the stomatal response to light of the new hybrids was at least twice as fast as that of Miscanthus x giganteus, a trait that is often associated with increased seasonal water use efficiency. Simplifying, it might be stated that more conservative water use by novel Miscanthus seed-based hybrids resulted in lower metal uptake.

The main finding of the performed analyses was the seed-based hybrids after second growing season showed biomass productivity comparable to the of Miscanthus x giganteus. It was also confirmed that seed-based hybrids were characterised by lower heavy metal uptake to aboveground parts than commercial Miscanthus x giganteus, showing phytostabilisation abilities and giving the opportunity for safe biomass production on contaminated soil. The collected biomass was analysed by the Hohenheim University for energy.

Second-year Miscanthus x giganteus planting, July 2017, Bytom, Poland
Second-year Miscanthus x giganteus planting, July 2017, Bytom, Poland
Second-year Miscanthus x giganteus planting, July 2017, Bytom, Poland
Plant pigments content measurement July 2017, Bytom, Poland
Leaf area index (LAI) measurements, July 2017, Bytom, Poland
Mature Miscanthus x giganteus crop, October 2017, Bytom, Poland
Miscanthus is harvested in late autumn and winter once the plant has gone dormant though the senescence process and before it starts growing again in the spring, October 2017, Bytom, Poland

 

2016 - Establishment of test plots

On soil contaminated with heavy metals (Pb, Cd, Zn) four novel Miscanthus seed-based hybrids were planted along with the commercial standard Miscanthus x giganteus. They were planted in replicated blocks, three of each genotype. During the first growing season 2016/2017 plants growth and acclimatization to the heavy metal polluted soil were observed. At the end of the growing season all tested genotypes seemed to be well acclimatized, both to Polish climate and the contaminated environment.

Plant material was collected twice, at the end of the first growing season in autumn and early spring, before starting second growing season, to compare heavy metal uptake and others parameters.

Just after miscanthus seedlings planting in June 2016, Bytom, Poland
Miscanthus seed-based hybrids seedlings planted on 0,5 m2 spacing, June 2016, Bytom, Poland
Miscanthus x gigantheus seedling just after planting, June 2016, Bytom, Poland
Miscanthus seed-based hybrids seedlings just after planting, June 2016, Bytom, Poland
Miscnathus x giganteus seedlings 4 weeks after planting, July 2016, Bytom, Poland
Miscnathus x giganteus seedlings 4 weeks after planting, July 2016, Bytom, Poland
Sampling of soil cores (0-100 cm) for the assessment of initial soil parameters, July 2016, Bytom, Poland
Miscanthus seed-based Hybrids plant growth during 1st growing season, September 2016, Bytom, Poland

 

 


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