CIBR research bridge disciplines and distances, with scientists collaborating over the length of the country to investigate safe and sustainable solutions for the reuse of biowaste. The CIBR team works in a transdisciplinary way to provide holistic solutions for the challenges related with the reuse of biowaste.



Numerous chemicals and trace elements are used in daily household, industrial, and agricultural activities. These chemicals could enter the environment by applying biowaste to land. This group’s challenge is to characterise and manage the potential risks of chemicals to our unique ecosystems. Some of the research questions that the Ecotoxicology team are investigating are:

- Which contaminants are present in biowaste?

- Which is their fate and risk in NZ environment?

- How can they be treated?

Click here to look at our research from the ecotoxicology team


This group works in understanding the behaviour of pathogens and viruses in wastewater, and treatment options. They are also investigating the transport of these pathogens in the environment to provide safe practice recommendations. The research questions of the Microbiology Team are:

- Which pathogens are in biowaste, and how to remove them?

- Is the behaviour of all pathogens similar to that of the indicator organism Escherichia coli?

- How pathogens transport in the environment after land application of biowaste?

Click here to look at our research from the microbiology team

Social and Cultural

Fundamental to CIBR’s work is the involvement of communities to explore the important social, cultural and economic factors associated with emerging biowaste reuse options. This group conducts participatory action research with stakeholders to encourage shared learning and ensure that the biophysical scientists develop solutions that are appropriate for real communities. Some of the research questions that the Social and Cultural Team are investigating are:

- How to engage with communities regarding reuse of biowaste?

- Which are Māori worldviews about sustainability and how to apply them for reducing and recycling biowaste?

- Which are the drivers for changing behaviours in citizens?

Click here to look at our research from the social and cultural team

Soil and Plants

Reusing biowaste can provide essential nutrients for plant needs and organic matter for improving soil quality. This group investigates how biowaste land application affects soil health and fertility, and how plants can benefit from those biowaste without increasing their concentration of potential contaminants. Some options for the beneficial reuse of biowaste that the Soil and Plant Research Team are investigating are the increase in productivity of radiata pine plantation, the remediation of mining areas, the establishment of native vegetation in degraded areas, or the growth of economically interesting species such as mānuka and kānuka.

Click here to look at our research from the soil and plants team

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