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Dissolved air flotation (DAF) separates phosphorus (P)-rich fine solids from anaerobically digested dairy manure, creating opportunities to export surplus P to the marketplace as a bagged plant food product. Seedlings of tomato and marigold were amended at various volume per volume (v/v) ratios with plant foods consisting of fine solids upcycled (i.e., transformed into a higher quality product) by drying and blending with other organic residuals. A plate competition assay was conducted to assess the fine solids' potential to suppress the plant pathogen Rhizoctonia solani. Plant foods were comprised of 2.0-2.1% N, 0.8-0.9% P and 0.6-0.8% K. Extractions indicated that plant foods contained a mixture of plant-available and slow-release P. At 6% v/v plant food, dry biomass of marigold and tomato were six-times greater than the unamended control and not significantly different from a market alternative treatment. Fine solids exhibited negligible potential to suppress R. solani. This study indicates that DAF-separated fine solids could be used to support horticulture, providing information for design of a circular economy approach to dairy manure nutrient management. Life cycle assessment and business model development for this nutrient recovery strategy are necessary next steps to further guide sustainability efforts.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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