The biological stability determines the extent to which readily biodegradable organic matter has decomposed. In this work, a massive estimation of indices suitable for the measurement of biological stability of the organic matter content in solid waste samples has been carried out. Samples from different stages in a mechanical-biological treatment (MBT) plant treating municipal solid wastes (MSW) were selected as examples of different stages of organic matter stability in waste biological treatment. Aerobic indices based on respiration techniques properly reflected the process of organic matter biodegradation. Static and dynamic respirometry showed similar values in terms of aerobic biological activity (expressed as oxygen uptake rate, OUR), whereas cumulative oxygen consumption was a reliable method to express the biological stability of organic matter in solid samples. Methods based on OUR and cumulative oxygen consumption were positively correlated. Anaerobic methods based on biogas production (BP) tests also reflected well the degree of biological stability, although significant differences were found in solid and liquid BP assays. A significant correlation was found between cumulative oxygen consumption and ultimate biogas production. The results obtained in this study can be a basis for the quantitative measurement of the efficiency in the stabilization of organic matter in waste treatment plants, including MBT plants, anaerobic digestion of MSW and composting plants. © 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
- Mechanical-biological treatment
- Municipal solid wastes