At the beginning of January 2018, researchers Joaquim Cunha and Alberto Veja, from the Faculty of Biotechnology (ESB) of the Portuguese Catholic University in Porto, applied a bioinoculum developed by the ESB in 250 paulownia (Paulownia sp.) trees, in the nurseries of Amarante of the ICNF (Institute of Nature and Forest Conservation). This work is part of the project GO-Bio©horume, approved in 2017 within the scope of the Operational Groups to promote innovation in the national agricultural sector. The project intends to value the liquid fraction of the slurry (with a high pollutant load for soil and water resources) produced by dairy farms, by applying it as fertilizer in fast growing forest species, such as paulownia and even poplar (Populus sp.). The application of microorganisms can also favor the establishment, growth capacity and resistance to diseases of these trees. This bioinoculum, made up of fungi and bacteria, recently applied in the paulownias, can reduce its mortality rate in the transplant phase to the field and reduce the stress coming from the application of the slurry, also allowing the recycling of this effluent at a more eficiente rate. The use of this type of plant species and this type of symbiosis with the microorganisms can reduce the environmental impacts of the slurry and is also an added value for the production of biomass for energy. It is an innovative model of effluent management, with a "circular economy" perspective, at the scale of the farm, making them an opportunity and an economic and environmental added value.
This project will be developed over the next four years by ESB in partnership with the AVELEDA company, which is the coordinating entity of the project. At ESB, the coordination is carried out by Professor Paula Castro, with the collaboration of the researchers: Sofia Pereira, Helena Moreira, Joaquim Cunha, Alberto Vega e Eduardo Cardoso. The National Institute of Agrarian and Veterinary Research (INIAV); Forest Association of Portugal (FORESTIS); National Federation of Milk and Dairy Cooperative Unions (FENALAC) are the partner institutions.