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MP15 Tools / Methods / Applications
(MOU-1117-844405) A Life Cycle Assessment Methodology for Agricultural Products Evaluation.
Mourad, A.L.1, Coltro, L.1, Oliveira, P.A.P.L.V.1, Kletecke, R.M.1, Baddini, J.P.O.A.1, 1 CETEA – Packaging Technology Center / ITAL – Institute of Food Technology, Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil
ABSTRACT- A methodological approach for representing agricultural products in terms of life cycle assessment was developed during the conduction of two LCA studies for important Brazilian exportation products (green coffee and orange juice) that included crop cultivation at commercial farms, harvesting, storage and transport by trucks until the exportation harbors. The time-related coverage of this study was 2 complete crops (2001/02 and 2002/03), including the higher and subsequent lower productive periods. The functional unit adopted was 1,000 kg of each product. The selection of the studied areas was done taking into account the geographical boundaries. Specific questionnaires were elaborated for data collection on farm level, considering the input of fertilizers, chemicals and correctives, water usage, energy consumption and residue disposal. The stoichiometric balance was performed for the green coffee and orange based on their elementary compositions according to the basic principles of photosynthesis. The difference between the mineral composition of the product and the total input content of these elements for all the crop inputs (fertilizers, chemicals, correctives) was allocated as outputs of the systems. The plant protection agents were counted in two forms: grouped by classes (herbicide, fungicide, acaricide and insecticide) and specified by the chemical name of the active ingredient. The exact fate of them or assumptions can be further associated to impact categories as eutrophication, natural resources depletion, human health, ecological toxicity, etc. This method is based on well accepted universal principles of stoichiometry applied to the grain and fruit growth. The generated inventory can be gradually improved as the understanding about each emission fate is known. The results of this method can be employed by different stakeholders as farmers, environment managers and politicians. Other great contribution of this method is to fulfill the gap in the agricultural LCA studies.
Key words: LCA, crop, stoichiometric balance, agricultural products
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