Nutrients from food and animal feed industry

Large quantities of organic waste are generated in the agricultural production of food or feed for livestock. These can be used sensibly as biomass for bioenergy production, but also for the recovery of important nutrients. The Fraunhofer IGB is developing the corresponding biotechnological processes.

Processing of organic residues

Enzymatical and chemcial recovery of phosphorus

The Fraunhofer IGB is developing biocatalytic processes for the mineralization of organic phosphates contained in agricultural residues. In this way, they can be recovered as high-quality fertilizer.

Stabilization trough drying, torrefaction or carbonization

In the production, preparation and processing of solids, drying is usually an essential process step. Drying processes are used, for example, to stabilize the shape of granulates, pellets or powders.

Torrefaction aims to increase the mass-related energy density and thus the calorific value of the raw material. It also increases the transport and storage capability of the raw material.

In hydrothermal carbonisation, the biomass from agricultural waste is converted into fuels and thus made usable for bioenergy production independent of location.

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Recovery of nutrients from process water

Phosphorus recovery

Phosphorus is a nutrient that is highly sought after as a fertilizer in agriculture. On the basis of the processes developed at the Fraunhofer IGB, phosphorus can be recovered from agricultural residues and reused as fertilizer.

Nitrogen recovery

Like phosphorus, nitrogen is a nutrient that can be recovered from agricultural waste and used as fertiliser.

Reference projects

Recovery of organic phosphorus for enhanced phosphate precipitation


We have developed analytical methods for the characterization of organic residues in regard to their phosphorus content.

En-X-Olive – Soil improver from residues of olive oil production


The objective of the work package fertilizer recovery was to produce a compact organic soil improver from the digested residues of the olive oil mill industry. The digested residues were separated into their solid and liquid fractions and the solid fraction was dried and pelletized.