Brandon Gilroyed

Associate Professor
Phone number: 
(519) 674-1500 Ext.63605 Ridgetown Campus
Rudy Brown Rural Development Center Rm 117


B.Sc. Molecular Genetics- University of Alberta

B.Sc. Plant Biology- University of Alberta

Ph.D. Civil Engineering (Specialization Environmental Engineering)- University of Calgary
NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Lethbridge Research Station 


My research is interdisciplinary in nature, focusing on renewable energy production from agricultural byproducts and wastes using anaerobic digestion technology. Anaerobic digestion is a microbial process where organic substrates are converted principally to methane and carbon dioxide (biogas). Using a combination of engineering principles, analytical chemistry, microbiology, and molecular biology, my research focuses on understanding the mechanisms of microbial conversion of substrates into renewable energy. By understanding the process at a molecular level, avenues for optimization of the process can be discovered. Previously I have done research looking at the conversion of specified risk materials from the beef cattle industry into biogas using anaerobic digestion. As part of this work, I also investigated the fate of infectious prion proteins, the causative agent of “Mad Cow Disease”, in anaerobic digestion systems.

A derivative of my 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. I have previously done research investigating the biohydrogen production potential of cattle manure, specified risk materials, and potato processing waste.

I am 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. I am interested in the chemical and microbial processes involved in composting a wide range of substrates.  I have 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. I have also examined the biodegradation of recalcitrant substrates such as hydrocarbons, lignocellulose, and keratin in compost systems.

Meet Prof. Brandon Gilroyed

Head shot of Brandon with play button overlaid.

Prof. Brandon Gilroyed of the School of Environmental Sciences is based out of our Ridgetown Campus. His research is interdisciplinary focusing on agriculture, the environment and renewable energy. 

Check out Brandon's 60 snapshot video here.


Baute, K.A., Robinson, D.E., Van Eerd, L.L., Edson, M., Sikkema, P.H., Gilroyed, B.H. (2016). Survival of seeds from perennial biomass species during commercial scale anaerobic digestion. Weed Research.

Gilroyed, B.H., Conrad, C., Hao, X., McAllister, T.A., Stanford, K., Reuter, T. (2016). Composting for biocontained cattle mortality disposal and associated greenhouse gas and leachate emissions. Journal of Environmental Quality, 45: 646-656.

Gilroyed, B.H., Braithwaite, S.L., Price, L.M., Reuter, T., Czub, S., Graham, C., Balachandran, A., McAllister, T.A., Neumann, N.F. (2015). Application of protein-misfolding cyclic amplification to detection of prions in anaerobic digestate. Journal of Microbiological Methods, 118: 1-6.

Reuter, T., Gilroyed, B.H.,  Xu, W., McAllister, T.A., Stanford, K. (2015). Compost biodegradation of recalcitrant hoof keratin by bacteria and fungi. Journal of Applied Microbiology, 118: 989-997.

Nkemka, N.V. Gilroyed, B.H., Yanke, J., Gruninger, R., Vedres, D., McAllister, T.A.,  Hao, X. (2015). Bioaugmentation with an anaerobic fungus in two-stage process for biohydrogen and biogas production using corn silage and cattail. Bioresource Technology 185: 79-88.

Stanford, K., Reuter, T., Gilroyed, B.H., McAllister, T.A. (2015). Impacts of sporulation temperature, exposure to compost matrix and temperature on survival of Bacillus cereus spores during livestock mortality composting. Journal of Applied Microbiology 118(4): 989-997.

Gilroyed, B.H., Li, C., Reuter, T., Beauchemin K.A., Hao, X., McAllister, T.A. (2015). Influence of distiller’s grains and condensed tannins in the diet of feedlot cattle on biohydrogen production from cattle manure. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy 40(18): 6050-6058.

Rasmussen, J., Gilroyed, B.H., Reuter, T., Badea, A., Eudes, F., Graf, R., Laroche, A., Kav, N.N.V., McAllister, T.A. (2015). Protein can be taken up by damaged wheat roots and transported to the stem. Journal of Plant Biology 58(1): 1-7.

Xu, S., Reuter, T., Gilroyed, B.H., Mitchell, G., Price, L.M., Dudas, S., Braithwaite, S.L., Graham, C., Czub, S., Leonard, J.J., Belosevic, M., Balachandran, A., Neumann, N.F., McAllister, T.A. (2014). Biodegradation of prions in compost. Environmental Science & Technology 48(12): 6909-6918.

Rasmussen, J., Gilroyed, B.H., Reuter, T., Dudas, S., Graham, C., Neumann, N.F., Balachandran, A., Czub, S., Kav, N.N.V, McAllister, T.A. (2014). Can plants serve as a vector for prions causing Chronic Wasting Disease?  Prion 8(1): 136-142. 

Rasmussen, J., Gilroyed, B.H., Reuter, T., Badea, A., Eudes, F., Graf, R., Laroche, A., Kav, NNV., McAllister, TA. (2014). Efficiency of protein as a nitrogen source for wheat and morphological changes in roots exposed to high protein concentrations. Canadian Journal of Plant Science (94(4): 603-613. 

Xu, S., Reuter, T., Gilroyed, B.H.,Tymensen, L., Hao, Y., Hao, X., Belosevic, M., Leonard, J.J. and McAllister, T.A. (2013). Microbial communities and greenhouse gas emissions associated with the biodegradation of specified risk material in compost. Waste Management 33(6): 1372-1380. 

Gilroyed, B.H., Reuter, T., Kastelic, J.P., and McAllister, T.A. (2013). Emergency euthanization of cattle challenged with Escherichia coli O157:H7- A case study for a response to an infectious disease outbreak. The Journal of Veterinary Science 14(1), 103-106. 

Xu, S., Reuter, T., Gilroyed, B.H., Dudas, S., Graham, C., Neumann, N., Czub, S., Belosevic, M., Leonard, J.J. and McAllister, T.A. 2013. Biodegradation of Specified Risk Material and Fate of Scrapie Prions in Compost. Journal of Environmental Science and Health, Part A 48(1), 26-36. 

Conrad, C.C., Gilroyed, B. H., McAllister, T.A., and Reuter T. 2012. Synthesis of O-serogroup specific positive controls and real-time PCR standards for nine clinically relevant non-O157 STECs. Journal of Microbiological Methods. 91: 52-56. 

Reuter, T., Xu, W., Alexander, T.W., Gilroyed, B.H., Inglis, G.D., Larney, F.J., Stanford, K., McAllister, T.A. (2010). Biocontained carcass composting for control of infectious disease outbreak in livestock. Journal of Visualized Experiments, Issue 39. Available online at: doi: 10.3791/1946. 

Gilroyed, B.H., Reuter, T., Chu, A., Hao, X., Xu, W. and McAllister, T.A. (2010). Anaerobic digestion of specified risk materials with cattle manure for biogas production. Bioresource Technology, 101: 5780-5785. 

Xu, W., Xu, Y., Reuter, T., Gilroyed, B., Liji, J., Stanford, K., Larney, F.J. and McAllister, T.A. (2010). An improved design for biocontained composting of cattle mortalities. Compost Science and Utilization, 18: 32-41. 

Gilroyed, B.H., Li, C.L., Hao, X., Chu, A., McAllister, T. (2010). Biohydrogen production from specified risk materials co-digested with cattle manure. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 35: 1099-1105. 

Reuter, T., Gilroyed, B.H., Alexander, T.W., Mitchell, G., Balachandran, A., Czub, S. and McAllister, T.A. 2009. Prion protein detection via direct immuno-quantitative real-time PCR. Journal of Microbiological Methods, 78: 307-311. IF= 2.09

Stanford, K., McAllister, T.A., Reuter, T., Xu, W., Gilroyed, B., Moyer, J., and Larney, F.J. (2009). Biocontained mortality compost using liquid manure. Compost Science and Utilization, 17: 158-165. IF= 0.64

Xu, W., Reuter, T., Xu, Y., Alexander, T.W., Gilroyed, B.H., Jin, L., Stanford, K., Larney, F.J. and McAllister, T.A. (2009). Use of quantitative and conventional PCR to assess biodegradation of bovine and plant DNA during cattle mortality composting. Environmental Science and Technology, 43: 6248-6255.

Gilroyed, B.H., Chang, C., Chu, A., Hao, X. (2008). Effect of temperature on anaerobic fermentative hydrogen gas production from feedlot cattle manure using mixed microflora. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 33: 4301-4308. 

Book Chapters

Gilroyed, B.H., Hao, X., Larney, F.J., McAllister, T.A. 2011. Greenhouse gas emissions from cattle feedlot manure composting and anerobic digestion as a potential mitigation strategy. In: “Understanding Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Agricultural Management”. Editors: L. Guo, A. S. Gunasekara, L. L. McConnell. ACS Books Symposium Series.

Gilroyed, B.H., Hao, X., McAllister, T.A. 2011. Fermentative biohydrogen production from organic agricultural wastes. In: “Biogas: Production, Consumption and Applications”. Editors: R. Litonjua, I. Cvetkovski. Nova Science Publishers


Grain Farmers of Ontario

Natural Resources Canada Program of Energy Research and Development

NSERC Discovery Grant


Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency

Alberta Prion Research Institute

Research Area

anaerobic digestion, biorefinery, fermentation, industrial crops, waste valorization


Area of Research

Plant and Environmental Health