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2017-003: Addressing Livestock Water Security Through Sulphate Removal Using Bio-adsorbent Materials and Modified Forms

Researcher: Lee Wilson

Funding: $20,000

While the Canadian Water Quality Guidelines recommend a maximum sulphate concentration of 1,000 mg/L, many livestock producers in Saskatchewan have reported high levels of sulphates in their water. This has led to a deficiency of copper, zinc, iron, and manganese that in turn causes lower growth rates, infertility, a depressed immune response, and even death in very high concentrations. Some sulphate management practices, like adding copper to feed, can be a cost effective. However, these solutions are more adequate for feedlot cattle. Dr. Wilson’s team will create a prototype of a sulphate removal system that could also ultimately also remove phosphate as well.


Dr. Lee Wilson and his research team found more improvements on the modular design for removing sulfate from water in a manner that would not depend on high infrastructure and operational costs, and limited membrane fouling that would necessitate constant monitoring. Using chitosan-based materials, as well as other materials including flax seed gum, this column-based system is still at the laboratory scale. These researchers, which also include Dr. Lope Tabil and Mehdi Nemati, have tested their system in various conditions within their lab, and plan to have field tests on a farm in their next year of research.

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