OPTIMIZING REED (PHRAGMITES AUSTRALIS) FUNCTION IN SLUDGE DRYING BEDS: PRODUCING A MORE EFFECTIVE GENOTYPE


and beds for drying sludge have been popular in small wastewater treatment plants. As the towns are growing, the capacity of the beds is being reached, as is the land available for their expansion. Other alternatives are expensive. Municipalities must rely on user fees and local taxes for expansion. Adding Phragmites to the beds enhances drying and decomposition and saves labor. At the present time the facilities are using wild type Phragmites. The goal of this project is to develop a variety or varieties of Phragmites especially designed to enhance the drying and decomposition processes in the sludge-drying bed. This will expand the capacity of sand-drying beds and save the municipalities money. Further, pressure is mounting to ban Phragmites from drying beds in some states because of concern that the seed will spread and degrade wetlands. The design criteria for the improved Phragmites variety includes plant sterility. At this time, we have one variety that meets this criteria, a distinctive variegated line, Stripes.


Funding Source
: NOAA Sea Grant

Planting sand-drying beds

The sand-drying beds are planted using Phragmites rhizomes.

Two months following planting

Two months following planting



Phragmites bed one year later

The Phragmites bed one year later at Bridgeville, Delaware.

Cecelia Linder

Graduate student Cecelia Linder running DNA analysis on Phragmites selections from natural populations and from tissue culture.

Dr. Denise Seliskar



Halophyte Biotechnology Center


This page was last updated: May 17, 2010
Questions/comments contact: connie@udel.edu

May 17, 2010