Biodegradation kinetics of ammonium enriched food waste digestate compost with biochar amendment

M. K. Manu, Chen Wang, Dongyi Li, Sunita Varjani, Yunjie Xu, Narsi Ladumor, Michael Lui, Jun Zhou, Jonathan W. C. Wong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


High concentration of NH4+-N in food waste digestate (FWD) produced from biological treatment of food waste is considered as a major threat on the composting process resulting in production of immature compost. Hence, a laboratory batch composting study was conducted to examine the feasibility of using biochar as a physical additive to ameliorate the inhibitory effect of NH4+-N and to mitigate the nitrogen loss during FWD composting. FWD was co-composted with tobacco biochar at a dosage of 0%, 2.5%, 5% or 10% (dw) in bench-scale composters with a controlled aeration system. The addition of 10% biochar enhanced the degradation rate resulting in 44% higher carbon decomposition than the control. Besides, 10% biochar amendment reduced NH3 and N loss by 58% and 5%, respectively and significantly reduced NH4+-N content to HKORC limit of < 700 mg/kg dw within 5 days showing the beneficiary impact of biochar addition.

Original languageEnglish
Article number125871
JournalBioresource Technology
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Waste Management and Disposal

User-Defined Keywords

  • Ammonia mitigation
  • Biochar
  • Compost quality
  • Degradation kinetics
  • Food waste digestate


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