Physicochemical characteristics of animal and municipal wastes decomposed in arid soils

Farouk Fares, Akram Albalkhi, Jerzy Dec, Mary Ann Bruns, Jean Marc Bollag

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22 Scopus citations


The application of anaerobically processed animal manure to maintain adequate levels of organic matter in arid soils is becoming a common practice. The purpose of this study was to characterize two farm manure products as compared with municipal waste compost (MWC). The anaerobic processing to obtain a biogas manure (BM) product was much faster (25 d) than the aerobic composting of farmyard manure (FYM) (90 d). Drying by three different methods (solar-drying, vacuum-drying at 45°C, and freeze-drying) did not affect the quality of BM. Based on the chemical characteristics, FYM and BM products were comparable, and, containing less ash (30%) and heavy metals (50 mg Pb kg -1), seemed superior to MWC that contained 65% ash and 108 mg Pb kg-1. On the other hand, MWC had higher C content (69.9%), lower acidity (15.04 mol kg-1), and higher exothermic peaks (300-460°C) than BM and FYM (50% C, 20 mol kg-1, and 275-450°C, respectively), thus showing a greater extent of humification. Also, when the organic materials were incubated with arid soils and monitored for mean residence times (MRT), MWC was slightly more resistant to decomposition (MRT 175-180 d) than BM or FYM (MRT 161-166 d). The observed differences, however, were too small to dismiss any of the products as a valuable material for land applications to improve soil quality. In view of the results obtained, MWC may be considered an adequate substitute for BM or FYM, whenever the latter are in short supply.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1392-1403
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Environmental Quality
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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