Can bokashi enhanced with glacial flour benefit organic farming systems?

About the project or challenge area

Organic farming systems, which avoid the use of synthetic fertilisers, rely on various traditional agronomic approaches to meet the needs of plant nutrition. Bokashi, partly decomposed/stabilised organic matter with the help of a microbial inoculum (“effective microorganisms”), is a biofertilizer, whose efficacy as a soil fertility amendment, and in particular its effect on soil nitrogen (N) cycling and crop N supply, are known, but not well understood. This project explores the potential for naturally produced mineral sediment by the erosive force of glaciers (“Glacial flour”), to provide essential elements for plant growth (e.g. potassium, phosphorus and micronutrients) in bokashi recipes, thus enhancing crop yields and influencing greenhouse gas emissions. It also explores the history of bokashi enhanced with mineral material (or glacial flour) as a sustainable biofertilizer by local communities in world mountain regions (e.g. in the foothills of the Himalayas) supporting sustainable agriculture and livelihoods. These goals will be achieved by combining glasshouse experiments, biogeochemistry analytics and a literature-based study of the historical role of bokashi (and mineral material as a key ingredient) in organic farming in glacierised regions. All training will be provided.   

Why choose this opportunity?

You will receive training in state-of-the art stable isotope techniques, soil and sediment nutrient analysis and will form part of a vibrant team researching nutrient cycling in glaciers.

About you

You will have a background in a relevant environmental science (Geography, Earth Science, Biogeochemistry, Plant Science, Microbiology). Experience of lab work (chemistry and/or plant growth experiments) would be beneficial. 

How to apply

All students can apply using the button below, following the Cabot Masters by Research Admission Statement. Please note that this is an advertised project, which means you only have to complete Section A of the Research Statement.

Before applying, we recommend getting in touch with the project's supervisors. If you are interested in this project and would like to learn more about the research you will be undertaking, please use the contact details on this page.

Jemma Wadham Supervisor

Your supervisor for this project will be Professor Jemma Wadham in the School of Geographical Sciences. You can contact her at


Your co-supervisor for this project will be Dr Fotis Sgouridis in the School of Geographical Sciences. You can contact him at +44 (0) 117 928 8078 or


Your co-supervisor for this project will be Dr Naomi Millner, Senior Lecturer in Human Geography in the School of Geographical Sciences. You can contact her at +44 117 928 9107 or email

Find out more about your prospective research community

The Environmental Change theme is a vibrant community of researchers who integrate expertise across multiple disciplines to provide the evidence base and solutions to tackle the world's most pressing environmental challenges. Find out more about the Environmental Change research theme.

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