Corn Cobs as Carbon Source for Bioreactors

Bioreactor site prep

Title:  Corn cobs as an alternative carbon source to enhance bioreactor performance for improved water quality

Location:  Iowa State University Ag Engineering and Agronomy Farm, Boone, IA

Time Period:  2018-2020

Research Team:  Michelle Soupir, Ji Yeow Law, Thomas Isenhart, Morgan Davis, Natasha Hoover, and Alexis Slade

Project Description:  In 2018, the six of the nine pilot-scale bioreactors at the Experimental Tile Drainage Denitrification Bioreactors site were modified with the addition of corncobs. Woodchips were excavated from the inlet end ¼ of three bioreactors and ¾ of another three bioreactors, then refilled with corncobs. The study will focus on differences in nitrate (NO3-N) removal with the more readily available carbon provided by the corn cobs and changes in microbial communities, as well as a techno-economic analysis (TEA) evaluating the feasibility of corncobs as a replacement for the current go to fill material of woodchips.   


Funders:  Iowa Nutrient Research Center , Green Products Company

Disclaimer:  This is an active research site, please contact the research team prior to planning any site visits.