N-Dynamics During Composting — Overview and Experimental Results

  • I. Körner
  • R. Stegmann
Conference paper

Abstract

Nitrogen plays an important role during composting since it may have valuable but also harmful effects when the compost is applied. An overview of the processes of N-dynamics is given. First, the theoretical courses of the processes most important for N-dynamics during composting are described, focusing on ammonification, nitrification, denitrification, immobilization and N released via leachate and exhaust gases. Experiments were carried out in a laboratory composting unit with 100-1 bioreactors to evaluate their importance in composting. The composting parameters, such as water content, aeration, pH and temperature were evaluated with respect on their effect to the processes of N-dynamics.

Ammonification was lower during curing than during intensive rotting. Three-patterns could be detected; ammonia/ammonium formation during curing is significant, formation was negligible or immobilization is significantly higher than ammonia formation. Ammonification reaches higher rates for non-lignocellulosic substrates compared to lignocelluloses — independent of the N-content of the input material. Nitrification and denitrification occurred only during curing. Nitrification was limited by temperatures above 30 °C, pH over 8 and moistened substrate. Immobilization effects are assumed for the whole composting process and could be detected for the curing phase. They have not neccasarily been catalyzed by microorganisms. Chemical-physical processes may also be the reason. Releases take place via leachate (only if the process is insufficiently aerated) and via exhaust air. Ammonia releases via exhaust air were high for non-lignocellulosics and low/not detectable for lignocelluloses.

Keywords

Starch Lignin Nitrite Immobilization CaCl2 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • I. Körner
  • R. Stegmann
    • 1
  1. 1.Department for Waste ManagementTechnical University of Hamburg HarburgHamburgGermany

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