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Concept: Composting


Previous studies indicated that the quality of tropical composts is poorer than that of composts produced in temperate regions. The aim of this study was to test the type of manure, the use of co-composting with green waste, and the stabilization method for their ability to improve compost quality in the tropics. We produced 68 composts and vermicomposts that were analysed for their C, lignin and NPK contents throughout the composting process. Bayesian networks were used to assess the mechanisms controlling compost quality. The concentration effect, for C and lignin, and the initial blend quality, for NPK content, were the main factors affecting compost quality. Cattle manure composts presented the highest C and lignin contents, and poultry litter composts exhibited the highest NPK content. Co-composting improved quality by enhancing the concentration effect, which reduced the impact of C and nutrient losses. Vermicomposting did not improve compost quality; co-composting without earthworms thus appears to be a suitable stabilization method under the conditions of this study because it produced high quality composts and is easier to implement.

Concepts: Tropics, Bayesian network, Networks, Bayesian probability, Humus, Compost, Composting, Vermicompost


The fate of chlortetracycline (CTC), sulfadiazine (SDZ) and ciprofloxacin (CIP) during composting of swine manure and their effect on composting process were investigated. Swine manure was spiked with antibiotics, mixed with saw dust (1:1 on DW basis) and composted for 56d. Antibiotics were spiked to a final concentration of 50mg/kg CTC+10mg/kg SDZ+10mg/kg CIP (High-level) or 5mg/kg CTC+1mg/kg SDZ+1mg/kg CIP (Low-level), and a control without antibiotics. Antibiotics at high concentrations delayed the initial decomposition that also affected the nitrogen mineralization. CTC and SDZ were completely removed from the composting mass within 21 and 3d, respectively; whereas, 17-31% of the spiked CIP remained in the composting mass. Therefore, composting could effectively remove the CTC and SDZ spiked even at high concentrations, but the removal of ciprofloxacin (belonging to fluoroquinolone) needs to be improved, indicating this antibiotic may get into the ecosystem through land application of livestock compost.

Concepts: Agriculture, Fertilizer, Humus, Quinolone, Compost, Composting, Vermicompost, Mulch


Twenty-five comparative cycle assessments (LCAs) addressing food waste treatment were reviewed, including the treatment alternatives landfill, thermal treatment, compost (small and large scale) and anaerobic digestion. The global warming potential related to these treatment alternatives varies largely amongst the studies. Large differences in relation to setting of system boundaries, methodological choices and variations in used input data were seen between the studies. Also, a number of internal contradictions were identified, many times resulting in biased comparisons between alternatives. Thus, noticed differences in global warming potential are not found to be a result of actual differences in the environmental impacts from studied systems, but rather to differences in the performance of the study. A number of key issues with high impact on the overall global warming potential from different treatment alternatives for food waste were identified through the use of one-way sensitivity analyses in relation to a previously performed LCA of food waste management. Assumptions related to characteristics in treated waste, losses and emissions of carbon, nutrients and other compounds during the collection, storage and pretreatment, potential energy recovery through combustion, emissions from composting, emissions from storage and land use of bio-fertilizers and chemical fertilizers and eco-profiles of substituted goods were all identified as highly relevant for the outcomes of this type of comparisons. As the use of LCA in this area is likely to increase in coming years, it is highly relevant to establish more detailed guidelines within this field in order to increase both the general quality in assessments as well as the potentials for cross-study comparisons.

Concepts: Carbon dioxide, Anaerobic digestion, Waste management, Potential energy, Methane, Compost, Mechanical biological treatment, Composting


Parascaris equorum generally infects horses less than 18 months old and its pathological effects can be severe. Infection occurs when larvated eggs, present in pastures, paddocks, stalls, and on feeding and watering equipment are ingested. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of windrow composting on the viability of P. equorum eggs at a cooperating central Kentucky horse farm. Three grams of feces containing 2216 P. equorum eggs per gram were sealed in filter bag sentinel chambers. Chambers were exposed to 1 of 3 treatments: constant exposure or intermittent exposure to the interior of the windrow; controls were stored at 4°C. At day 0, all chambers in the experimental treatments were placed in the center of 10 locations of the windrow. On subsequent days when the windrow was turned, chambers in the constant exposure treatment were returned to the interior of the windrow and chambers in the intermittent exposure treatment were alternated between resting on top of, or inside, the windrow. Chambers from each treatment and control chambers were removed at days 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, and 18; and incubated for 21 days at room temperature (24°C). After incubation, eggs were recovered from the chambers using double centrifugation flotation. Eggs were evaluated microscopically, staged according to development and classified as viable or nonviable based on whether embryonation to the larval stage had occurred. Results were reported as the mean percent viable eggs for each treatment and time point. A mixed linear model with repeated measures was used to evaluate the influence of experimental day and treatment on the percent viability of P. equorum eggs. Chambers treated with constant exposure contained 10.73% (SD=0.29) viable eggs on day 2 and declined to an average of 0.00% by day 8. Chambers exposed to the intermittent treatment contained 16.08% (SD=0.26) viable eggs on day 2 and decreased to 0.00% by day 6. Control chambers for days 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, and 18 all had viabilities above 79.00%. A significant fixed effect of experimental day (p<0.0001) and compost treatment (p<0.0001) was observed. There was no significant interaction between experimental day and compost treatment (p>0.7459). The results of this study demonstrate that windrow composting was effective at rendering P. equorum eggs nonviable when it was tested under the conditions at a working horse farm.

Concepts: Larva, Effectiveness, Compost, Composting, British Columbia Interior, Vermicompost, In-vessel composting, Gram


This study sought to evaluate the efficacy of aerobic and anaerobic composting of inoculated banana peels, and assess the agronomic value of banana peel-based compost. Changes in the chemical composition under aerobic and anaerobic conditions were examined for four formulations of banana peel-based wastes over a period of 12weeks. The formulations i.e. plain banana peel (B), and a mixture with either cow dung (BC), poultry litter (BP) or earthworm (BE) were separately composted under aerobic and anaerobic conditions under laboratory conditions. Inoculation with either cow dung or poultry litter significantly facilitated mineralization in the order: BP>BC>B. The rate of decomposition was significantly faster under aerobic than in anaerobic composting conditions. The final composts contained high K (>100gkg(-1)) and TN (>2%), indicating high potential as a source of K and N fertilizer.

Concepts: Nitrogen, Waste management, Humus, Compost, Composting, Manure, Anaerobic exercise, Vermicompost


The inner filter effects in synchronous fluorescence spectra (Δλ=60nm) of sedimentary humic substances from a salt marsh were studied. Accordingly to their type and the influence of plant colonization, these humic substances have different spectral features and the inner filter effects act in a different manner. The fluorescence spectra of the humic substances from sediments with colonizing plants have a protein like band (λexc=280nm) which is strongly affected by primary and secondary inner filter effects. These effects were also observed for the bands situated at longer wavelengths, i.e., at λexc=350nm and λex=454nm for the fulvic acids (FA) and humic acids (HA), respectively. However, they are more important for the band at 280nm, causing spectral distortions which can be clearly seen when the spectra of solutions 40mgL(-1) of different samples (Dissolved Organic Carbon - DOC∼20mgL(-1)) are compared with and without correction of the inner filter effects. The importance of the spectral distortions caused by inner filter effects has been demonstrated in solutions containing a mixture of model compounds which represent the fluorophores detected in the spectra of sedimentary humic samples. The effectiveness of the mathematical correction of the inner filter effects in the spectra of those solutions and of solutions of sedimentary humic substances was studied. It was observed that inner filter effects in the sedimentary humic substances spectra can be mathematically corrected, allowing to obtain a linear relationship between the fluorescence intensity and humic substances concentration and preventing distortions at concentrations as high as 50mgL(-1) which otherwise would obscure the protein like band.

Concepts: Concentration, Soil, Lignin, Humus, Humic acid, Composting, Total organic carbon


Composting facilities in Thailand have faced various operational problems, resulting in the emission of odours, incomplete digestion of waste organics, and higher than desired costs. Composting technologies imported from developed countries tend to be sized for larger communities and are otherwise not suited for the rural communities that comprise more than 80% of all communities in Thailand. This article addresses the research and development of a novel composting technology aimed at filling this observed need. The study was divided into two parts: (1) the development of a new composting technology and fabrication of a prototype configuration of equipment; and (2) scale-up and study on a pilot-scale using real rubbish. The proposed technology, called ‘serial self-turning reactor (STR)’, entailed a vertical flow composting system that consisted of a set of aerobic reactors stacked on a set of gravity fed turning units. In-vessel bioreactor technology enables the operator to control composting conditions. The researchers found that a tower-like STR results in flexibility in size scale and waste processing residence time. The pilot-scale experiments showed that the proposed system can produce good quality compost while consuming comparatively little energy and occupying a compact space, compared to traditional land-intensive windrow composting facilities.

Concepts: Developed country, Research, Waste management, Recycling, Innovation, Composting, Vermicompost, In-vessel composting


Experiments were conducted to remove heavy metals (Cr, Cd, Pb, Cu and Zn) from urban sewage sludge (SS) amended with spent mushroom compost (SMC) using worms, Lumbricus rubellus, for 105 days, after 21 days of pre-composting. Five combinations of SS/SMC treatments were prepared in triplicate along with a control for each treatment in microcosms. Analysis of the earthworms' multiplication and growth and laboratory analysis were conducted during the tenth and fifteenth week of vermicomposting. Our result showed that the final biomass of earthworms (mg) and final number of earthworms showed significant differences between treatments i.e. F=554.70, P=0.00 and F=729.10, P=0.00 respectively. The heavy metals Cr, Cd and Pb contained in vermicompost were lower than initial concentrations, with 90-98.7percent removal on week ten. However, concentrations of Cu and Zn, that are considered as micronutrients, were higher than initial concentrations, but they were 10-200-fold lower than the EU and USA biosolid compost limits and Malaysian Recommended Site Screening Levels for Contaminated Land (SSLs). An increment of heavy metals were recorded in vermicompost for all treatments on week fifteen compared to week ten, while concentration of heavy metals in earthworms' tissue were lower compared to vermicompost. Hence, it is suggested that earthworms begin to discharge heavy metals into their surroundings and it was evident that the earthworms' heavy metals excretion period was within the interval of ten to fifteen weeks.

Concepts: Zinc, Lead, Heavy metal music, Heavy metal, Sludge, Composting, Hardcore punk, Vermicompost


Cellulose decomposing microorganisms (CDMs) are important for efficient bioconversion of plant biomasses. To this end, we isolated seven fungal isolates (Aspergillus wentii, Fusarium solani, Mucor sp., Penicillum sp., Trichoderma harzaianum, Trichoderma sp.1 and Trichoderma sp.2) and three bacterial isolates (bacterial isolate I, II and III) from partially decomposed farm yard manure, rice straw and vermicompost, and evaluated them for decomposition of rice straw (Oryza sativa), Ipomoea camea and Eichhornia crassipes biomass. CDMs inoculation, in general, reduced the composting period by 14-28 days in rice straw, 14-34 days in Eichhornia and 10-28 days in Ipomoea biomass over control. Of the 10 CDMs tested, Mucor sp. was found to be the most effective as Mucor-inoculated biomass required minimum time, i.e. 84, 68 and 80 days respectively for composting of rice straw, Eichhornia and Ipomoea biomass as against 112, 102 and 108 days required under their respective control. CDMs inoculation also narrowed down the C:N ratio of the composts which ranged from 19.1-22.7, 12.9-14.7 and 10.5-13.1 in rice straw, Eichhornia and Ipomoea biomass respectively as against 24.1, 17.1 and 16.2 in the corresponding control treatments. Aspergillus wentii, Fusarium solani, Mucor sp., and Penicillum sp. were found most effective (statistically at par) in reducing C:N ratio and causing maximum loss of carbon and dry matter in composted materials. These benefits of CDMs inoculation were also accompanied by significant increase in NPK contents in the composted materials.

Concepts: Photosynthesis, Bacteria, Fungus, Compost, Chemical decomposition, Decomposition, Composting, Eichhornia crassipes


The efficiency of home composting programmes and the quality of the produced compost was evaluated in eight rural areas carrying out home composting programmes (up to 880 composting bins) for all household biowaste including meat and fish leftovers. Efficiency was analysed in terms of reduction of organic waste collected by the municipal services. An efficiency of 77% on average was obtained, corresponding to a composting rate of 126kg/person·year of biowaste (or 380kg/composter·year). Compost quality was determined for a total of 90 composting bins. The operation of composting bins by users was successful, as indicated by a low C/N ratio (10-15), low inappropriate materials (or physical contaminant materials, mean of 0.27±0.44% dry matter), low heavy metal content (94% of samples met required standards for agricultural use) and high nutrient content (2.1% N, 0.6% P, 2.5% K, 0.7% Mg and 3.7% Ca on average, dry matter). The high moisture (above 70% in 48% of the samples) did not compromise the compost quality. Results of this study show that home composting of household organic waste including meat and fish leftovers is a feasible practice. Home composting helps individuals and families to reduce the amount of household waste at the same time gaining a fertiliser material (compost) of excellent quality for gardens or vegetable plots.

Concepts: Agriculture, Waste management, Heavy metal music, Biodegradable waste, Compost, Composting, Vermicompost, Home composting