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Home>News Articles>Agricultural News in Asia in 2007>Alcohol distillery wastes make good fertilizer
 January 05 2007


LOS BAÑOS, LAGUNA, PHILIPPINES - Distillery effluents are wastes no more; they can be recycled and used as liquid fertilizer for sugarcane.

This was the major finding of the study by Drs. Veronica P. Migo and Maria Lourdes Q. Sison, together with other researchers at the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at the University of the Philippines Los Baños.

The said study was conducted in partnership with three distillery companies in the province of Batangas. Field experiments were done for two growing seasons in two study sites in Batangas.

Results showed that plots fertilized with only distillery effluents increased yield by 64-71%. Meanwhile, those fertilized with distillery effluents in combination with urea increased yield by 58-61%. Sugar yield in combination treatments increased by as much as 93–95% over the unfertilized plants.

The highest yield of 138 t/ha of cane from plants treated with distillery effluents was obtained in the town of Lian, Batangas. Meanwhile, the combination of a full dose of nitrogen and distillery effluents applied in plots in the town of Tuy, Batangas yielded 124 t/ha. Distillery effluents did not affect soil pH or acidity, but increased the level of exchangeable potassium.

With such positive findings, recycling distillery effluents into liquid fertilizers holds a strong potential for increasing cane production in the Philippines.

In addition, it serves as a good strategy for distillery waste management. In the Philippines, distillery companies generate approximately 10–15 L of distillery effluents for every liter of alcohol produced. These can be highly pollutive if not managed properly. (Jocelyn C. dela Torre and Ofelia F. Domingo, Philippines: PCARRD)