Dr. Gilroyed's research is interdisciplinary in nature and uses a combination of engineering principles, analytical chemistry, microbiology, and molecular biology. The primary focus of his research group is the valorization of agricultural biomass and residues into bioenergy and bioproducts. His ...
Dr. Gilroyed's research is interdisciplinary in nature and uses a combination of engineering principles, analytical chemistry, microbiology, and molecular biology. The primary focus of his research group is the valorization of agricultural biomass and residues into bioenergy and bioproducts. His group has extensive expertise in anaerobic digestion for the production of biogas and has also worked on the production of syngas, hydrogen, organic acids (e.g. succinic acid, lactic acid) and carboxylates. They also have expertise in livestock mortality management, including in the development of new strategies and the assessment of the biosecurity and environmental sustainability of technologies. They have done a significant amount of research related to energy crops (e.g. sugar corn, cup plant, Miscanthus, switchgrass) and pretreatment strategies for their conversion to bioenergy.
A derivative of Gilroyed's research on anaerobic digestion is the production of biohydrogen through fermentation. Hydrogen is an energy-dense intermediate product in anaerobic digestion that can be collected as a final product under certain process conditions. There are thermodynamic constraints imposed on biohydrogen production, which results in poor conversion of substrate to product. Understanding how the microbial community responds to these constraints is an important step in discovering areas for future genetic manipulation that will enable better substrate conversion rates. Gilroyed has previously done research investigating the biohydrogen production potential of cattle manure, specified risk materials, and potato processing waste.
Gilroyed is also interested in composting as a way to manage nutrients in agricultural wastes and reduce pathogens. Composting can also be a low-cost technology employed in emergency situations for the disposal of animal mortalities. In the event of a zoonotic outbreak requiring the disposal of large numbers of potentially infectious animals, composting is a disposal strategy that can safely and quickly be employed on site. Gilroyed is interested in the chemical and microbial processes involved in composting a wide range of substrates. He has previously done research investigating the disposal of cattle mortalities in compost, as well as the fate of infectious prions and Bacillus spp. endospores during composting. He has also examined the biodegradation of recalcitrant substrates such as hydrocarbons, lignocellulose, and keratin in compost systems.