Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Natural Resources

First Advisor

Eric D. Roy


Dissolved air flotation (DAF) has shown potential to substantially improve phosphorus (P) mass balance on dairy farms by capturing P associated with fine solids from liquid manure, enabling new management options. However, at < 25% total solids, further dewatering and other upcycling is necessary to facilitate export of recovered fine solids off farm for use in bagged or bulk products. I generated plant foods using DAF-captured dairy manure fine solids thermally dried to 45% total solids blended with other organic residuals. Dry biomass of tomato and marigold seedlings amended with 6% v/v plant food was six-times greater than the unamended control and not significantly different from a market alternative treatment. Because thermal dewatering can be prohibitively costly, I generated a second batch of plant foods using DAF-captured dairy manure fine solids conditioned with 3, 4.5 and 6% (w/w) quicklime or lime kiln dust (LKD) and dewatered using a benchtop press for comparison with thermally dried fine solids. Tomato seedling biomass was similar for thermally dried and LKD plant foods, but quicklime plant foods had no effect compared to the unamended control. Quicklime and LKD conditioned fine solids contained approximately 30 and 10 times less plant-available P than thermally dried fine solids, respectively—likely due to precipitation of Ca-P minerals. These studies indicate that DAF-captured dairy manure fine solids could be upcycled to bagged horticultural products with substantial agronomic value, however sustainable materials drying remains a key challenge to realizing this potential.



Number of Pages

66 p.