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A Bioreactor adapted to the Canadian Climate (Video)

Odourless manure with high fertilizer value. It's possible. In partnership with the company Bioterre, Dr. Daniel Massé of the Sherbrooke Dairy and Swine Research and Development Centre has developed a bioreactor to treat manure. Find out how this new technology also reduces greenhouse gases.

Video Transcript

[An image and a maple leaf appear on screen. This is the title graphic for the video.]

[Light, electronic music fades in.]

Text on screen: Bioreactors designed for the Canadian Climate

[The video opens with a shot of some of the smaller buildings on the Dairy and Swine Research and Development Centre.]

Narrator: Canada's pig farming industry has changed dramatically in recent years.

[The shot changes to show pigs in a number of pens.]

[Light, electronic music fades continues.]

It has adopted many best practices related to quality...

[The shot changes to show a Centre employee cleaning out some of the pens.] safety and animal welfare.

[The shot changes to show a group of young pigs in a larger enclosure.]

[Light, electronic music fades continues.]

It has also implemented a number of environmental innovations.

[The shot changes to show the signage for the Dairy and Swine Research and Development Centre in Sherbrooke, Quebec.]

Dr. Daniel Massé of the Dairy and Swine Research and Development Centre in Sherbrooke...

[Interior of a science lab. There are a number of test tubes containing liquid in a rack.]

[Light, electronic music fades continues.] exploring uses for livestock waste.

[A large sampling machines rotates through a number of samples. The shot changes to show several prototype bioreactors developed by Dr. Massé and his team.]

His team is currently developing a system of bioreactors for turning pig slurry into fertilizer.

[The shot changes to show Dr. Massé. He is standing in a plain white room.]

[Light, electronic music fades continues.]

Text on screen: Dr. Daniel Massé, Research Scientist, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Massé: When people ask me what I do for a living and I tell them I work in environment, they're already aware.

[The shot changes to a still image of a group of three bioreactors being used on a farm. Words begin to appear on screen.]

[Light, electronic music fades continues.]

We started working in this field in the 1990s. When you look at the environmental issues at that time...

Text on screen: Smell

... odours...

Text on screen: Pollution

... nitrogen pollution...

Text on screen: Phosphorus

...phosphorus pollution...

Text on screen: Erosion

...soil erosion...

Text on screen: Greenhouse gases

...greenhouse gases. Those are major issues.

[The shot changes to show a thermometre against a white background.]

Narrator: The first bioreactors on the market were built to function at high temperatures...

[The mercury in the thermometre rises to indicate high temperatures.]

[Light, electronic music fades continues.]

...which was unstable and ill-suited to the Canadian climate. So Dr. Massé and his team focused on a technology that was better suited to cold climates.

[The mercury in the thermometre falls to indicate cold temperatures.]

[The shot changes to show Dr. Massé.]

Massé: By '96-'97, the research had progressed quite a bit. We knew it could work at low temperatures.

[One of Dr. Massé's research assistants is extracting a sample from one of the prototype bioreactors. Text appears on screen.]

[Light, electronic music fades continues.]

We knew it was resistant to antibiotics...

Text on screen: Resistant to antibiotics

...and resistant to cleaning products.

Text on screen: Resistant to cleaning products

We knew we had developed a very good technology.

[The camera pans across the exterior of a working pig farm.]

[Light, electronic music fades continues.]

What happens on the farm, the way things are done, is that on most pig farms, the farmer flushes the manure out of the barn once a week.

[The shot changes back to Dr. Massé.]

So we decided to develop a bioreactor that could be fed once a week.

[A close-up shot of a sample being extracted from one of the prototype bioreactors.]

[Light, electronic music fades continues.]

That means farmers could use existing equipment on their farms...

[A close-up shot of the rack of test tubes from earlier in the video.]

...and wouldn't have to buy sophisticated equipment. They also wouldn't have to see the bioreactor. They would keep running the barn as usual.

[The shot changes to show a stylized graphic of several stalks of wheat on a white background. We can see the roots of the plants under the ground. Droplets of liquid are falling onto the ground and seeping down towards the roots of the plants.]

[Light, electronic music fades continues.]

After processing, the slurry has a higher fertilizing value.

Text on screen: Higher fertilizer value

The main difference is that processing breaks down the little particles in the manure, so the slurry can penetrate more quickly into the soil.

Text on screen: Absorbs faster

That means it's more readily available to plants.

[The shot changes back to Dr. Massé.]

In the work that was done with the research team in Sainte-Foy to compare mineral fertilizers, raw manure and processed manure, the processed manure enhanced agronomic performance...

[A simple bar graph appears on a piece of graph paper. One bar indicates ammonia losses while the other indicates nitrous oxide. As Dr. Massé speaks, the bars in the graph fall to represent the benefits pf processed pig slurry to these two areas.]

[Light, electronic music fades continues.]

...reduced ammonia losses by about 10%, and cut emissions of nitrous oxide, a very potent greenhouse gas, by about 50%.

[Cut to a still image of a group of bioreactors being used on a farm. Text appears on screen.]

Narrator: By using a bioreactor that is adapted to the Canadian climate...

Text on screen: Works between 5-25°C can produce a mineral-rich fertilizer...

Text on screen: Fewer greenhouse gas emissions

...while significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions from livestock farming.

[A close-up shot of a computer screen displaying test results.]

[Light, electronic music fades continues.]

In addition to improving crop yields, this technology offers farmers a new revenue stream: surplus fertilizer can be sold commercially.

[A graphic appears on a white background. It shows the cycle that would occur on a farm that is reusing pig slurry.]

Dr. Massé partnered with BioTerre Systems Inc., which marketed the bioreactor in Canada and in the United States. In the near future, this new anaerobic treatment system could even become a regional solution for treating solid waste.

[The shot changes back to Dr. Massé.]

[Light, electronic music fades continues.]

Massé: Many grain farmers will be interested in this product. It drastically reduces their environmental footprint and carbon footprint at the same time. Let's not forget, pollution doesn't stop at the border.

[Several beauty shots of Canadian canola fields.]

When you have a country like the United States, whose pig farming industry is much bigger than ours, reducing greenhouse gas emissions on the U.S. side by using this technology will have a positive impact on Canada and other countries.

[Fade to black.]

[Fade up from black.]

Text on screen: 100th anniversary. Dairy and Swine Research and Development Centre, Sherbrooke, Quebec, 1914-2014

[Cross dissolve.]

Text on screen: Modern. Innovative. Growing. Discover other agricultural innovations at

[Light, electronic music fades out.]

Text on screen: Canada, Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, as represented by the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food (2014).

[Fade to black.]

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