Dr Brendon Costello

Theme 3

The effect of lignite on nitrogen loss, odour and water activity in broiler litter

The loss of nitrogen (N) from broiler litter poses an environmental risk and represents the forfeiture of a nutrient with considerable economic value. Odour is also generated during broiler production, which can be a nuisance to neighbouring residents, resulting in complaints and regulatory action. Both nitrogen loss and odour are closely linked to litter water activity. Lignite is well known for its adsorptive properties due to its rich surface chemistry and microporosity, which may mitigate these issues when applied to animal bedding material. This research aims to investigate lignite’s capacity as a litter amendment to reduce N loss, odour and water activity in broiler litter. We hope to increase the nitrogen value of organic waste, improve the recycling of nutrients and develop a scalable bio-fertiliser.

Dr Brendon Costello holds a Bachelor of Animal and Veterinary Science from La Trobe University and a Bachelor of Science (Honours) from the University of Melbourne, for which he received first class honours and was awarded the Wrixon Exhibition as the highest placed student in agricultural science. He is a strong communicator and has received the Frank Gibbons Award for outstanding written research and won the 2020 Dr Ian Sergeant 3-Minute Thesis competition, both of which were awarded by Soil Science Australia. Brendon is passionate about sustainability and food security and has recently completed a PhD at the University of Melbourne.


School of Agriculture, Food and Ecosystem Sciences, Faculty of Science, The University of Melbourne

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