Chemical properties and hydrolytic enzyme activities for the characterisation of two-phase olive mill wastes composting.Bioresour Technol. 2008 Jul; 99(10):4255-62.BT
Two-phase olive mill waste (TPOMW) is a semisolid sludge generated during the extraction of olive oil by the two-phase centrifugation system. Among all the available disposal options, composting is gaining interest as a sustainable strategy to recycle TPOMW for agricultural purposes. The quality of compost for agronomical use depends on the degree of organic matter stabilization, but despite several studies on the topic, there is not a single method available which alone can give a certain indication of compost stability. In addition, information on the biological and biochemical properties, including the enzymatic activity (EA) of compost, is rare. The aim of this work was to investigate the suitability of some enzymatic activities (beta-glucosidase, arylsulphatase, acid-phosphatase, alkaline-phosphatase, urease and fluorescein diacetate hydrolysis (FDA)) as parameters to evaluate organic matter stability during the composting of TPOMW. These enzymatic indices were also compared to conventional stability indices. For this purpose two composting piles were prepared by mixing TPOMW with sheep manure and grape stalks in different proportions, with forced aeration and occasional turnings. The composting of TPOMW followed the common pattern reported previously for this kind of material with a reduction of 40-50% of organic matter, a gradual increase in pH, disappearance of phytotoxicity and formation of humic-like C. All EA increased during composting except acid-phosphatase. Significant correlations were found between EA and some important conventional stability indices indicating that EA can be a simple and reliable tool to determine the degree of stability of TPOMW composts.