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Effect of high biowaste moisture content on pathogens hygienization potential of in-vessel composting technology during compost production

Author: 
Jacob P. Muhondwa, Marion Martienssen and Marko Burkhardt
Subject Area: 
Physical Sciences and Engineering
Abstract: 

Nutrient recovery through composting of biowaste stands for many years as promising strategy for replenishing nutrients to barren lands and soil conditioner. Unfortunate, microbiological safety of the resulting compost has been of great concern owing to higher pathogens contamination levels in the biowaste. This study aimed at investigating performance of In-vessel composting technology (ICT) at providing complete inactivation of pathogens from biowaste with higher moisture content. E. coli and S. senftenberg were spiked on Potato peels waste (PPW) having 77.1% moisture to simulate contamination in biowaste. Five sample formulations: 1:0, 1:1, 3:2, 7:3 and 0:1 (PPW: Compost soil) were aerobically composted at laboratory scale based on ICT. Except for moisture, other physicochemical attributes in PPW were within acceptable composting ranges. The moisture content in the peels turned composting process anaerobic, hampered the composting process and discharged more leachate in composting vessels which affected both temperature-time patterns and pathogens hygienization in the finished compost. Air drying of PPW for 36hrs reduced moisture to 67.7%. This improved temperature-time pattern from 48˚C for 2hrs to 59.2˚C for 4days in 3:2 formulations thus confirming moisture as critical factor.

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