Structural study of the fulvic fraction during composting of activated sludge-plant matter: elemental analysis, FTIR and 13C NMR.Bioresour Technol. 2008 Mar; 99(5):1066-72.BT
The starting fulvic structures isolated from an initial mixture of activated sludge and plant matter presented abundant peptide structures and hydrocarbons that absorb in FTIR spectra around (1650 and 1560 cm(-1)) and 1072 cm(-1), respectively. They also present a high resonance signal in the O- and N-alkyl areas of (13)C NMR spectra. As composting proceeded, some changes led to the formation of the molecular structures of fulvic fraction as demonstrated by a decrease of intensity of compounds absorbing around 1072 cm(-1) and an increase of those absorbing around 1140 cm(-1). The resonance of O- and N-substituted alkyl carbon also decreased from 55.7% to 33.8%, with an increase in the intensity of aromatic carbons, alkyls and carboxyls. These data indicate that the microbial community that developed during composting used polysaccharides as an energy source, structures which are supplied in abundance in the initial material. The fulvic fraction of the final compost is much richer in aromatic structures and aliphatic ethers/esters, which are most likely preserved from the original material but probably also synthesized through the microbial activities. The occurrence of alkyl ethers/esters at the end of composting is demonstrated by strong absorbance around 1140 cm(-1) in the FTIR spectra and large peaks at 32 and 174 ppm in the NMR spectra. These structures could also be produced following the creation of ether/ester bonds during the humification process.