Respirometric screening of several types of manure and mixtures intended for composting

Raquel Barrena, Josep Turet, Anna Busquets, Moisès Farrés, Xavier Font, Antoni Sánchez

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    The viability of mixtures from manure and agricultural wastes as composting sources were systematically studied using a physicochemical and biological characterization. The combination of different parameters such as C:N ratio, free air space (FAS) and moisture content can help in the formulation of the mixtures. Nevertheless, the composting process may be challenging, particularly at industrial scales. The results of this study suggest that if the respirometric potential is known, it is possible to predict the behaviour of a full scale composting process. Respiration indices can be used as a tool for determining the suitability of composting as applied to manure and complementary wastes. Accordingly, manure and agricultural wastes with a high potential for composting and some proposed mixtures have been characterized in terms of respiration activity. Specifically, the potential of samples to be composted has been determined by means of the oxygen uptake rate (OUR) and the dynamic respirometric index (DRI). During this study, four of these mixtures were composted at full scale in a system consisting of a confined pile with forced aeration. The biological activity was monitored by means of the oxygen uptake rate inside the material (OURinsitu). This new parameter represents the real activity of the process. The comparison between the potential respirometric activities at laboratory scale with the in situ respirometric activity observed at full scale may be a useful tool in the design and optimization of composting systems for manure and other organic agricultural wastes. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1367-1377
    JournalAgricultural Wastes
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011


    • Composting
    • Dynamic respiration index
    • Manure
    • Oxygen uptake rate
    • Respiration activity


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