Moisture-Induced Effects on Lignocellulosic and Humification Fractions in Aerobically Composted Straw and Manure

Abstract

Humic substances affect compost stability and maturation. However, the intricate structure of lignocellulosic materials hinders the biodegradation of cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin, often promoting the use of synthetic additives which results in microbial inactivation and death. Therefore, this study examined the effects of optimal moisture levels (MC1 = 45%, MC2 = 55%, and MC3 = 65%) on lignocellulosic and humification fractions in aerobically composted straw and manure. The study showed that 65% moisture content was more efficient in decomposing cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin, with hemicellulose (115.3% w/w ≈ 47.1%) degrading more than cellulose (76.0% w/w ≈ 39.5%) and lignin (39.9% w/w ≈ 25.9%). However, in compost heaps with 45% moisture, the humic acid concentration increased significantly by 12.4% (3.1% w/w) and 17.3% (4.3% w/w) compared with 55% and 65% moisture, respectively. All moisture levels increased the mineralization of humic substances, but the index measured was highest at 65% MC (23.8% w/w) and lowest at 45% MC (18% w/w). In addition, the humification rate showed the trend: 0.083% w/w > 0.087% w/w > 0.100% w/w for MC1, MC2, and MC3, respectively. Overall, the results indicate that an initial moisture content of 65% is aerobically efficient for the conversion of corn straw and cow manure into stable and mature compost

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