Images of Vetiver PhD Research

Vetiver PhD Research Project

Vetiver PhD Research Project

Sue Rodgers owner and founder of Vetiver Grass UK is conducting a PhD Research Project with the University of Reading into how effective Vetiver will be at reducing Diffuse Water Pollution in the UK. Diffuse Water Pollution causes serious environmental damage to UK water courses, costing a £1.3 billion per year (NAO), which we all pay for in our water bills. The PhD research project is looking at how effective Vetiver is in reducing the amount of excess nutrients reaching watercourses. In the tropics Vetiver absorbs significant levels of Nitrogen and Phosphorus, the primary culprits in causing water pollution. The research will investigate if Vetiver can absorb sufficient Nitrogen (N) and Phosphorus (P) to  reduce excess nutrients reaching watercourses.

Vetiver PlantVetiver Grass

Vetiver grass (Chrysopogon zizanioides) is a tropical grass and normally thrives in a warm humid tropical climate. But recent research has shown Vetiver to survive much colder temperatures than previously thought. Vetiver survives temperatures of – 15oC, although will die if the ground is permanently frozen. It was this discovery that prompted the need to investigate the viability of using Vetiver, for Phyto-remediation purposes in the UK.

UK Field Trials

A series of Field Trials are being conducted in southern England. The trials will assess how much Nitrogen and Phosphorus Vetiver grass absorbs compared to Rye grass. These trials will run for 3 years and will evaluate differences in seasonal uptake of N & P. A series of glasshouse Pot Trials are being conducted, to support the Field Trials with additional data. The Pot Trials allow specific parameters to be measured, in a more controlled environment to the Field Trials and over a shorter timeframe. The purpose of the Pot Trials is to measure a greater range of variables than possible in the Field Trials. And, to elucidate further the environmental factors affecting the growth of Vetiver.

Small scale field plot trials are being conducted to measure specific factors that may influence the growth of Vetiver in semi-field conditions. And provide an intermediate environment to evaluate  specific parameters more easily than in the Field and Pot Trials.

In addition to discovering how effective Vetiver will be at absorbing N & P in the UK, valuable data will be generated as to the best growing conditions for Vetiver to thrive in the UK.