European centre of excellence
for sustainable water technology


Soil is as essential to human well-being as air and water. It is a key component of many ecological processes and assures the provisioning of ecosystem services such as food production, water depuration, carbon storage, crop resistance to pests and diseases.
Soil organic matter\humus affects the biological, chemical and physical properties of the soil and therefore, plays a central role in maintain soil functionality and productivity.
To strengthen circular economy approach, organic streams such as sewage sludge, animal manures and agricultural plant residues can be used to recycle organic matter and nutrients back to soil.
Treatment of organic matter prior to land application is widely applied in several different methods (e.g. composting, anaerobic digestion and fermentation) to improve fertility. However, a complete understanding of the short and long term effects of these treatments on the interactions between nutrients, plant roots and soil micro-organisms underpinning soil fertility is still lacking.
The Soil Theme aims to identify the key physical, chemical and biological parameters involved in the different organic matter treatments and to understand the long and short term interaction between organic matter\humus, nutrients and soil organisms enhancing soil functionality and productivity. Separate recovery of organic matter and nutrients will also be investigated.
Relying on the gained insight, the Soil Theme will investigate how to integrate knowledge and expertise of Wetsus on water treatment technology to find most suitable form of organic matter addition for agricultural application.

Company members

Valentina Sechi

Theme coordinator:
Valentina Sechi

combining scientific excellence with commercial relevance