Role of tobacco and bamboo biochar on food waste digestate co-composting: Nitrogen conservation, greenhouse gas emissions, and compost quality

Dongyi Li, M.K. Manu, Sunita Varjani, Jonathan W.C. Wong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Anaerobic digestion is considered an environmentally benign process for the recycling of food waste into biogas. However, unscientific disposal of ammonium-rich food waste digestate (FWD), a by-product of anaerobic digestion induces environmental issues such as odor nuisances, water pollution, phytotoxicity and pathogen transformations in soil, etc. In the present study, FWD produced from anaerobic digestion of source-separated food waste from markets and industries was used for converting FWD into biofertilizer using 20-L bench scale composters. The issues of nitrogen loss, NH3 volatilization, and greenhouse gas N2O emission were addressed using in-situ composting technologies with the aid of tobacco and bamboo biochar produced at pyrolytic temperatures of 450 °C and 600 °C, respectively. The results demonstrated that the phytotoxic nature of FWD could be reduced into a nutrient-rich compost by mitigating nitrogen loss by 29–53% using 10% tobacco and 10% bamboo biochar in comparison with the control treatment. Tobacco biochar mitigates NH3 emission by 63% but enhances the N2O emission by 65%, whereas bamboo biochar mitigates both NH3 and N2O emissions by 48% and 31%, respectively. Overall, 10% tobacco and 10% bamboo biochar amendment could reduce total nitrogen loss by 29% and 53%, respectively. Furthermore, the biochar addition significantly enhanced the biodegradation rate of FWD and the mature compost could be produced within 21 days of FWD composting as seen by an increased seed germination index (>50% on dry weight basis). The results of this study could be beneficial in developing a circular bioeconomy locally with the waste-derived substrates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-54
Number of pages11
JournalWaste Management
Volume156
Early online date24 Nov 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2023

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Waste Management and Disposal

User-Defined Keywords

  • Bamboo biochar
  • Composting
  • Food waste digestate
  • Greenhouse gas emission
  • NH3 volatilization
  • Tobacco biochar

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