Research Topic

Sustainable Nitrogen and Phosphorus Management in Animal Agriculture

About this Research Topic

Nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) losses from agricultural lands are unavailable for crop production and not only represent an economic impact but are also a leading cause of water quality problems in surface waters worldwide. The majority of food animals are produced in Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) where many animals are grown together in barns or feedlots. Manure from these operations is commonly applied to nearby crop land to avoid hefty transportation costs, making CAFO owners also crop farmers. In addition to water contamination associated with nutrient losses mentioned above, CAFOs are also associated with air pollution and the spread of pathogenic organisms. Atmospheric losses of N leaves some manure and wastewater with a N:P ratio much lower than needed by crops; such manure applied to meet plants’ N needs leave some fields with excess P.

In some livestock intensive regions with limited local cropland, manure nutrients represent a disposal problem because it is preferred that manure be used locally to avoid high transportation costs. In intensive crop regions with CAFOs, manure is not always viewed as a valuable source of organic fertilizer because of challenges in consistency, equipment, calibration, and odor. Numerous researchers have developed, tested, assessed, criticized, and promoted technologies to either remove carbon and nutrients or create products through various processes. Fewer reports have been published that characterize the economic value of the products or of the improvement to air and water quality and human health. While reports of technological advances and economic impacts are important, a missing component is a meaningful description of how these tools fit into existing systems of crop fertilization and production, animal feeding and manure management, and the human systems and infrastructure in which these activities are embedded.

This collection will include reports that explore new technologies and replacement products, itemize economic and ecosystem costs and benefits, discuss impacts of recovery on neighbors and communities, integrate advances in technology with economic and market analyses, and explore social and functional barriers to adoption of products from manure treatment.

Article types: Brief Research Report, Community Case Study, Curriculum, Data Report, Hypothesis and Theory, Methods, Mini Review, Original Research, Perspective, Policy and Practice Reviews, Policy Brief, Review, Specialty Grand Challenge, and Book Review.


Keywords: nutrient recovery, sustainable food systems, livestock


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) losses from agricultural lands are unavailable for crop production and not only represent an economic impact but are also a leading cause of water quality problems in surface waters worldwide. The majority of food animals are produced in Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) where many animals are grown together in barns or feedlots. Manure from these operations is commonly applied to nearby crop land to avoid hefty transportation costs, making CAFO owners also crop farmers. In addition to water contamination associated with nutrient losses mentioned above, CAFOs are also associated with air pollution and the spread of pathogenic organisms. Atmospheric losses of N leaves some manure and wastewater with a N:P ratio much lower than needed by crops; such manure applied to meet plants’ N needs leave some fields with excess P.

In some livestock intensive regions with limited local cropland, manure nutrients represent a disposal problem because it is preferred that manure be used locally to avoid high transportation costs. In intensive crop regions with CAFOs, manure is not always viewed as a valuable source of organic fertilizer because of challenges in consistency, equipment, calibration, and odor. Numerous researchers have developed, tested, assessed, criticized, and promoted technologies to either remove carbon and nutrients or create products through various processes. Fewer reports have been published that characterize the economic value of the products or of the improvement to air and water quality and human health. While reports of technological advances and economic impacts are important, a missing component is a meaningful description of how these tools fit into existing systems of crop fertilization and production, animal feeding and manure management, and the human systems and infrastructure in which these activities are embedded.

This collection will include reports that explore new technologies and replacement products, itemize economic and ecosystem costs and benefits, discuss impacts of recovery on neighbors and communities, integrate advances in technology with economic and market analyses, and explore social and functional barriers to adoption of products from manure treatment.

Article types: Brief Research Report, Community Case Study, Curriculum, Data Report, Hypothesis and Theory, Methods, Mini Review, Original Research, Perspective, Policy and Practice Reviews, Policy Brief, Review, Specialty Grand Challenge, and Book Review.


Keywords: nutrient recovery, sustainable food systems, livestock


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

19 November 2020 Abstract
20 April 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

19 November 2020 Abstract
20 April 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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