2021 Student Research Conference:
34th Annual Student Research Conference

Effects of Insects and Soil Microorganisms on Animal Carcass Decomposition

Megan M. Stanton*, Tabitha A. Deacon, Kieran E. German, Ben M. Collins, and Emma N. Fellows
Dr. Bob Johnson and Dr. Kelly Walter, Faculty Mentors

Disposal of animal carcasses can be costly for farmers, and services available for livestock disposal are decreasing. Composting can be a cost-effective way to dispose of carcasses while also generating a nutrient-rich soil amendment. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effects of insects and soil microorganisms on the decomposition rates of animal carcasses to find a sustainable method of carcass disposal. To study this, 24 bins with compost and rat carcasses were set up with three treatments applied; free access to naturally occurring insects, restricted access to naturally occurring insects, and added black soldier fly larvae. In order to study the impact of microorganisms, 12 bins had regular compost, and 12 had sterilized compost. Rates of decomposition were evaluated visually and through carcass start and end weights after 3 week period. 

Keywords: insects, microorganisms, soil, compost, animal carcass

Topic(s):Agricultural Science

Presentation Type: Asynchronous Virtual Oral Presentation

Session: 1-2
Location: https://flipgrid.com/0d87f987
Time: 0:00

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