Use of biochar as bulking agent for the composting of poultry manure: effect on organic matter degradation and humification.Bioresour Technol. 2010 Feb; 101(4):1239-46.BT
The aim of this study was to evaluate the use of biochar (produced by slow pyrolysis of Eucalyptus grandis biomass) as bulking agent for the composting of poultry manure. Three composting mixtures were prepared by the turned-pile system by mixing poultry manure with different organic wastes used as bulking agent (biochar, coffee husk and sawdust) in a proportion of 1:1 (fresh weight). Despite the inert nature of biochar, the composting mixture prepared with biochar underwent an organic matter degradation of 70% of the initial content. The organic matter of the poultry manure-biochar mixture was characterised by a high polymerisation degree of the humic-like substances, with a relative high proportion of humic acids in relation to fulvic acids. At the end of the composting process, the humic acid fraction represented more than 90% of the alkali extractable fraction, reflecting the intense humification of this material. Enrichment of poultry manure with biochar reduced the losses of nitrogen in the mature composts, although the use of sawdust would be more efficient in preserving the organic matter and nitrogen in the mature compost.