Bio-degradation of olive mill wastewater sludge by its co-composting with agricultural wastes.Bioresour Technol. 2002 Oct; 85(1):1-8.BT
The use of maize straw (MS) or cotton waste (CW) as bulking agents in the composting of olive mill wastewater (OMW) sludge was compared by studying the organic matter (OM) mineralisation and humification processes during composting and the characteristics of the end products. Both composts were prepared in a pilot-plant using the Rutgers static-pile system. The use of CW instead of MS to compost OMW sludge extended both the thermophilic and bio-oxidative phases of the process, with higher degradation of polymers (mainly lignin and cellulose), a greater formation of nitrates, higher total nitrogen losses and a lower biological nitrogen fixation. The CW produced a compost with a more stabilised OM and more highly polymerised humic-like substances. In the pile with CW and OMW sludge, OM losses followed a first-order kinetic equation, due to OM degradation being greater at the beginning of the composting and remaining almost constant until the end of the process. However, in the pile with MS and OMW sludge this parameter followed a zero-order kinetic equation, since OM degraded throughout the process. The germination index indicated the reduction of phytotoxicity during composting.