Control of nitrogen and odor emissions during chicken manure composting with a carbon-based microbial inoculant and a biotrickling filter

Haorong Zhang, Liqian Ma, Yinchao Li, Su Yan, Zhenye Tong, Yue Qiu, Xueying Zhang, Xiaoyu Yong, Liwen Luo, Jonathan W.C. Wong, Jun Zhou*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


Although aerobic composting is usually utilized in livestock manure disposal, the emission of odorous gases from compost not only induces harm to the human body and the environment, but also causes loss of nitrogen, sulfur, and other essential elements, resulting in a decline in product quality. The impact of biotrickling filter (BTF) and insertion of carbon-based microbial agent (CBMA) on compost maturation, odor emissions, and microbial population during the chicken manure composting were assessed in the current experiment. Compared with the CK group, CBMA addition accelerated the increase in pile temperature (EG group reached maximum temperature 10 days earlier than CK group), increased compost maturation (GI showed the highest increase of 41.3% on day 14 in EG group), resulted in 36.59% and 14.60% increase in NO3-N content and the total nitrogen retention preservation rate after composting. The deodorization effect of biotrickling filter was stable, and the removal rates of NH3, H2S, and TVOCs reached more than 90%, 96%, and 56%, respectively. Furthermore, microbial sequencing showed that CBMA effectively changed the microbial community in compost, protected the ammonia-oxidizing microorganisms, and strengthened the nitrification of the compost. In addition, the nitrifying and denitrifying bacteria were more active in the cooling period than they were in the thermophilic period. Moreover, the abundance of denitrification genes containing nirS, nirK, and nosZ in EG group was lower than that in CK group. Thus, a large amount of nitrogen was retained under the combined drive of BTF and CBMA during composting. This study made significant contributions to our understanding of how to compost livestock manure while reducing releases of odors and raising compost quality.

Original languageEnglish
Article number120636
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

User-Defined Keywords

  • Biotrickling filter
  • Carbon-based microbial agent
  • Chicken manure composting
  • Nitrogen
  • Odor


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