Qualitative and quantitative evolution of polyphenolic compounds during composting of an olive-mill waste-wheat straw mixture.J Hazard Mater. 2009 Jun 15; 165(1-3):1119-23.JH
Olive-mill wastes represent a significant environmental problem in Mediterranean areas due to their important production during a short period of time. Their high polyphenol, lipid and organic acid concentrations turn them into phytotoxic wastes. This work examined the evolution of polyphenolic compounds during the composting of an olive-mill waste-wheat straw mixture by using quantitative (Folin-Ciocalteu) and qualitative (High Pressure Liquid Chromatography, HPLC) analyses. The polyphenol content decreased strongly by 93% while the significant correlations obtained between polyphenol content and different humification indices and lignin losses suggested that polyphenols contribute to the synthesis of humic substances. In addition, the significant correlation found between germination index, polyphenols and humification indices must be related to the progressive substrate detoxification as humification process progressed, leading to a non-phytotoxic and partially humified end-product. Nine polyphenolic compounds were identified by HPLC, most of which had disappeared by the end of composting, when only traces of hydroxytyrosol, caffeic and syringic acids and oleuropein were detected.