UV spectroscopy: a tool for monitoring humification and for proposing an index of the maturity of compost.Bioresour Technol. 2004 Sep; 94(2):177-84.BT
Composting organic matter is an interesting way to valorize waste. Compost is a product obtained after a humification process. The humification of organic matter during composting was studied by the quantification and monitoring of the evolution of humic substances. The final objective was to be able to evaluate the state of humification based on a spectrum of total humic substances using the method of UV spectral deconvolution. This study presented a new index obtained by UV spectroscopy using the deconvolution of an unknown spectrum of compost with 3 reference spectra. This index was compared to the maturity indices usually used, such as total extraction of humic substances (rate of extraction), IP (index of polymerization) or the humic acid to fulvic acid ratio. This new parameter, which was easy and quick to determine, gave precise information about the quality of the compost. It made it possible to disregard the values of aberrant concentrations caused by the classical protocol of extraction. Compared to the humic acid to fulvic acid ratio, the new index obtained by UV spectral deconvolution showed more representative results: the humic acid to fulvic acid ratio for an apparently non-mature compost was abnormally high, suggesting that the compost was mature, whereas the UV index proposed showed that the compost was really young and not yet humified.