Biological and Agricultural Engineering

June 5 – Special STEP Seminar: Cultivation with autonomous tractors: experiences and challenges

Friday, June 5, 2015
12:00 PM

Place: 2045 Bainer Hall


Special Seminar (Co-sponsored with Sustainable Transportation Energy Pathways –STEP):

(lunch provided by STEPS)



Phycoremediation of swine wastewaters: from water recovery to energy production and animal feeding alternatives in Brazilian agribusiness industry



Dr. Melissa Paola Mezzariis & Dr. Marcio L.B. da Silva (UNOEC, Santa Catarina, Brazil)


Abstract: Brazil has the world’s fourth swine livestock with approximately 34 million animals. Santa Catarina state (located at southern of Brazil) corresponds to 13% of this total and therefore constitutes the largest regional producer of Latin America. To provide the worlds increasing demand for animal protein, swine production systems had to be changed to meet high productivity. In this regard, intensive practices of confinement have been proposed in order to increase productivity and decrease overall costs. Unfortunately, confinement system generates a larger volume of animal waste per unit of area thus requiring adequate effluent management and treatment in order to minimize unwanted environmental pollution. It is recognized that the introduction of nutrients (i.e., nitrogen and phosphorus) in the water bodies is the major cause of eutrophication and consequent changes in water quality that lead to various human health problems. The cultivation of microalgae using swine wastewater-rich macronutrients is not recent but is becoming more frequent nowadays. This is essentially due to the worldwide increasing interest on billionaire investments been made in efforts to utilize microalgae biomass as renewable source of feedstock to biogas, bioethanol, biodiesel and / or animal feed. Direct economic results from this practice include the in situ production of biofuels and/ or animal feed that can be used by local farmers at remote locations or through cooperatives. Indirect economic aspects are associated with: a) the agribusiness sustainability, b) the reduction of environmental contamination potential and protection of water resources, c) the ability to reutilize the effluent-treated water, ultimately conserving water resources and, last but not least, d) the use of microalgae in animal diets.


About the Speakers:

  • Melissa Paola Mezzariis a professor at the West University of Santa Catarina (UNOESC). She has a bachelor degree in Biological Sciences from the Federal University of Santa Catarina (1998), Masters in Environmental Engineering from the Federal University of Santa Catarina (2000) and Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from The University of Iowa (2004). Postdoctoral research areas foccus on environmental pollution remediation and control and environmental sustainability with emphasis on: biotechnology and molecular genetics in plant breeding for agriculture and biofuel production; rizo-, phyto-and bioremediation of soil and groundwater; environmental molecular biomonitoring techniques, strategies for containment of soils and aquifers contaminated with petroleum hydrocarbons; treatment of pig manure; conservation and reuse of water resources, monitoring and controlling the emission of greenhouse gases from agricultural activities; electron microscopy, confocal and light microscopy. Latest research interests are based on the development of microalgae in photobioreactors fed with agroindustrial effluents; water recycle; evaluation of the use of microalgae biomass for biogas, bioethanol and as a nutritional source for confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs).
  • Marcio L.B. da Silva is a biologist (1995) with Ms.C. and Ph.D. in environmental engineering (2003) at The University of Iowa. Postdoctoral studies were conducted in the environmental engineering department at Rice University (2004-2007). Dr. Marcio has experience in applied microbiology with emphasis in biotechnology processes and bioremediation of environmental pollutants. In the last four years his research has focused on microalgae production from agricultural wastewater treatment as potential feedstock for the production of renewable and sustainable byproducts.

2045 Bainer Hall University of California Davis

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