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Survival of the Beet Cyst Nematode Heterodera schachtii during the Biogas Process
Environmental and economic reasons motivate focused research on biofuel production. The new research programme MicroDrivE – Microbially Derived Energy, offers a series of MSc projects within bio-preservation, enzymatic pre-treatments, ethanol fermentation, bioprocessing of byproducts, biogas production and fertility effects of bioresidues. The projects are supervised by scientists from the Departments of Microbiology, Molecular Biology, and Chemistry at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Uppsala. MicroDrivE cooperates with a number of biotech and bioenergy companies.
The beet cyst nematode Heterodera schachtii infects the roots of sugar beets and causes last financial losses annual. The organism is present in soil in most parts of the world were sugar beets are grown. Cysts of H. schachtii have been reported to survive passage through the digestive tract of cattle and survive exposure to temperatures of in a desert like climate. Sugar beet is an energy rich substrate that can be used for biogas production. If the residue is to be used as a fertilizer and thus brought back to the field, it important to investigate the survival of cysts during anaerobic digestion. In the current project, cysts will be added to model scale biogas reactors run on different substrates and at mesophilic and thermophilic conditions. The survival will be investigated by addition of the cysts into soil in which sugar beets seedlings are planted and after a period of time, infection will be visible as cysts formed on the beet roots. In parallel, in vitro hatching of eggs in the laboratory will be followed.
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