Miguel Hernandez University (UMH) - Spain

UMH of Elche is a public university located in southeast Spain, an area of high economic and business potential (about 2000 employees, 18000 students). 28 bachelors, 51 Masters and 13 Doctorates are included in our teaching scheme. A total of 27 departments and 5 research institutes are devoted to research and training.
UMH has been beneficiary of more than 40 EU projects. The Research Results Transfer Office (OTRI) links scientific activity with the business world and specifically the European and International Research Projects Unit is in charge of administrative management of international projects, has extensive experience in managing European Projects and supports the researcher. Pre-doctoral expertise in formation on waste treatment, management and valorization, courses on recycling and advanced instrumental techniques for waste characterization is relevant to this proposal.
The Applied Research Group on Agro-chemistry and Environment (GIAAMA) team, involved in this proposal belong to the Dept. of Agro-chemistry and Environment. GIAAMA has extensive research work about waste valorization throughout the last 15 years including:
a) waste fluxes characterization using classical and new techniques (vg NIRS),
b) co-composting strategies for several organic waste fluxes, specially manures and digestato,
c) bio-fertilizer design and development mainly based on compost and vermicomposting
d) Enzymatic profiling of soil-plant systems and organic matter degradation in forced and natural environments.
d) Agronomic field validation of bio-fertilizers and new bio-products in commercial conditions using of wastes coming from the agriculture, the agro-food industry, and from urban origin (bio-solids and urban solid wastes).
Their activity has been financed by public and private funds through more than 25 national and international projects and led to publication of over 120 peer-reviewed papers, 20 books, 24 book-chapters, 8 patents and more than 200 congress national and international communications

Main Task

UMH will support in the pre-treatments to enhance AWP biodegradation in WP1. In WP2, UMH will provide earthworm samples for microbiomes determination to other partners and develop lab scale assays with earthworms to monitor key activities related to plastic degradation.
In addition, pre-compatibility tests will done between earthworms and 2-3 microbial/enzyme pools, including survival and key enzymes. In WP3 (leaded by UMH) we will participate in the production of microbial/enzyme consortia (PMC) and earthworm fortified with PMC. UMH will help in WP4 to ex-situ and in-situ pilot-scale plastic degradation processes using fortified the earthworm collection from WP3. In WP5 UMH will help in the development of vermicompost products and residues of the AWP degradation processes including greenhouse tests. Finally, UMH will also contribute to providing data for environmental and socio economic sustainability analysis, dissemination activities, exploitation of their results and project management.

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