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february 2004

MCK Environnement & BRYOTEC Technology

Mosses Culturing Using the Bryotec Process

Process Bryotec: Mosses Culturing; All Photos Courtesy Michel R. Chiaffredo

When Mosses Recreate the Landscape on the Roof
By Michel R. Chiaffredo

Our Earth’s soils have not always been here!  They have existed for many thousands of years and the Mosses, throughout this long evolution, have always been there - persisting and surviving.

Who is interested in mosses?  For many gardeners these insignificant plants, described as "inferior plants," are limited to decorative purposes and even then they must not be too intrusive … For others, they must be systematically destroyed.  The reason why most people ignore or even despise mosses is perhaps either due to their small size or the fact that they are not edible.  Nevertheless, if we look closer, we can realize that these primitive plants played and play a very important role.

Mosses belong to one of the largest groups of plants called  "Bryophytes" which in our planet’s evolution have been among the first to appear on Earth.  Unlike algae, which preceded them and from which mosses have retained many characteristics, mosses have developed the ability to live on Earth.  Before them … almost nothing existed.  After them, the appearance of superior plants arrrived: ferns, plants with flowers, and trees… First to exist on earth, mosses are sometimes the last to survive when superior plants are unable to subsist.  As such, Mosses well deserve the term of "Pioneers."

Mosses Culturing; M. Chiaffredo Ceratoden purpureus; M. Chiaffredo

Left: Mosses Culturing - Biological Crust of Mosses;  Right: Ceratodon purpureus, a Pioneer Moss,
usually a first colonizer of disturbed or newly created habitats.

Mosses are able not only to grow on arid soils (sand, rocky ground, lava, etc.) but also gradually transform in such a way that, by favoring the humus formation essential to all growth, they permit other plants to develop. The outcome is the formation of the Bryophytes pre-sod, mother of our fertile soils.

BRYOTEC Technology

From these observations, a technique has been developed and patented under phyto-ecological engineering called BRYOTEC Technology.  BRYOTEC Technology is an industrial production of a biological inoculant containing micro-organisms and  bryophytes with a very high productivity level.  It produces biological  crusts of mosses which will play a very important role in ground stabilisation (or engineered soil media stabilisation, if on the roof), carbon fixation, and nitrogen fixation.  Vascular plant cover is enhanced by the presence of these biological crusts. MCK ENVIRONNEMENT owns an exclusive license of the patent for the purpose of pursuing the development of this technology.  MCK ENVIRONNEMENT produces this inoculum which, depending on the objective desired, can be joined or not to a non-erosive substrate.  This procedure offers all the necessary criteria to install a bryophytic cover in a very short time - approximately three to six weeks in mild and humid weather.

Art Gallery Wall; M.Chiaffredo

Art Gallery Greenroof in Aarau, Switzerland - Left: Greenroof; Right Green Wall - Completed Summer 2003

Its Numerous Uses

            - Extensive green roofs.  The goal is to install a bryophytic cover on roofs with types of vegetation adapted to difficult life conditions with minimum or no maintenance at all.  Vegetation with such characteristics are the primary dynamics found in nature, e.g.  Therophytes (annual plants) and pre-sods.  BRYOTEC technology makes possible the production of pioneer groups essential to the settlement of these roof vegetation types.  This procedure allows the repopulation of plant species in accordance with natural processes - those which are perennial and which maintain biodiversity.  The ecological chain reconstructed from local species is environmentally coherent.  Mats on which mosses are cultivated and mixed with seeds of xerophylous plants (those that are adapted for growing or living in dry surroundings) can be started and subsequently installed on roofs after proper development.

Sedums in Moss Mat  - Bryotec
 

Sowing sedums sp. in a mat of mosses for
extensive green roofs.

- The restoration of disturbed natural environnments. This proven technique is able to rebuild vegetal dynamics identical to the ones existing before the deterioration of the milieu. To achieve such results in this case, the biologically inoculated substrate is spread jointly with a small amount of seeds of presod or sod, previously collected in the nearby natural environment.

Cliff before, Courtesy M. Chiaffredo

Cliff after, Courtesy M. Chiaffredo

Left: Disturbed land on seaside cliff in Saint Hilaire de Riez, France; Right: Revegetation two years later after using Process Bryotec

- Vegetation of a particular mineral by mosses is also feasable for specific architectural projects (stones used as roof cover or as vertical walls, for example).

Munich Re Moss Green Wall, M. Chiaffredo Munich Re Moss Greenroof; M. Chiaffredo

The new Munich Re office building at 10 Gedonstrasse, Munich, Germany – Completed in Spring 2002
Left:  Moss Green Wall; Right:  Moss Greenroof

- The reconstitution of forest dynamics in clumps. Instead of hoeing the soil around trees which may destroy a part of the fine roots so precious for tree life, we can install mosses. The weeds rapidly disappear and the trees develop roots directly under the mosses. In summer, water needs will be reduced to almost non-existent because the numerous roots allow the plants to meet their needs. We will then have recreated proper forest floor conditions in the clumps.

Trafoplatz, Baden, Switzerland; M.Chiaffredo Mosses in Clumps 4 months after Process Bryotec

Mosses in clumps atop Trafoplatz, an above underground parking garage in Baden, Switzerland, four
months after using Process Bryotec – Completion: Summer 2003 – Photos: October 2003

            - Biomonitoring. Standardized production coming out of BRYOTEC Technology is already used with the "bryocaptor" by laboratories to supervise air quality.  As a matter of fact, certain species of mosses are pollution resistant, capture heavy metals, volatile organic composites and/or pesticides.   Read an abstract regarding biomonitoring with mosses here.

In addition to the pioneer type Mosses, it would be very interesting to introduce onto green roofs other plant bioindicators of environmental quality, e.g. Tobaco (Nicotiana tabacum), Lolium multiflorum, Curly Kale (Brassica oleracea acephala), Tradescantia. These roofs would then have an "air sentinel" purpose.

A bryocaptor for monitoring; M.Chiaffredo

A bryocaptor for biomonitoring (Ceratodon purpureus),
ubiquitous bryophyte, with the ability to tolerate high
heavy metal concentrations

This new BRYOTEC technology approach has received attention in many countries; the inherent beauty of mosses is becoming widely appreciated in the establishment of moss gardens  and  MCK ENVIRONNEMENT is looking for business partners who will enable us to develop new markets with this unique and innovative biotechnical solution. With new partnerships, MCK ENVIRONNEMENT will better respond to the growing demand for the BRYOTEC technology and help recreate landscapes with greenroofs.

Mosses Culturing on Volcanic Stone; M.Chiaffredo Cliff Revegetation; M. Chiaffredo

Left: From Mosses Culturing on Volcanic Stone to Right: Revegetation of a Natural Environment Two Years
After Using the Process Bryotec on a Cliff
in Saint Hilaire de Riez, France.

Michel R. Chiaffredo has devoted over ten years to mosses. The mastering of these plants’ production has already opened very interesting and lucrative avenues. MCK ENVIRONNEMENT, a small enterprise founded in 1985 by Michel, helped research works and continues to promote the use and development of bryo-technologies.  MCK ENVIRONNEMENT has already signed research agreements with the University of Lille II in France so as to continue the creation of unique products meeting high quality environmental requirements that favor biodiversity.

Michel R. Chiaffredo
MCK ENVIRONNEMENT – Process BRYOTEC
Le Parc
F – 56190 ARZAL.
Tel: + 33 297 450 571 or + 33 297 450 445
Fax: + 33 297 450 625
E-Mail: mck.mc@wanadoo.fr

www.bryotec.com (under construction)


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