Characteristics of nitrogen transformation and microbial community in an aerobic composting reactor under two typical temperatures

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Journal Article
Bioresource Technology, 2013, 137 pp. 270 - 277
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Batch experiments were conducted for feces composting using an aerobic composting reactor with sawdust as bulky matrix. In the 14-day composting processes at 35. ±. 2 and 55. ±. 2°C, compost samples were collected daily and chemical analyses and PCR-DGGE were carried out for investigating the influence of composting temperature on organic decomposition, nitrogen transformation, and microbial communities. At 55. ±. 2°C, in addition to a slightly higher COD removal, nitrogen loss was greatly restrained. As organic nitrogen took about 85% of the total nitrogen originated from human feces, the suppression of ammonification process under thermophilic environment might be the main reason for less nitrogen loss at 55. ±. 2°C. By PCR-DGGE analysis, the microbial community was found to undergo successions differently at 35. ±. 2 and 55. ±. 2°C. Certain sequences identified from the compost at 55. ±. 2°C represented the microbial species which could perform nitrogen-fixation or sustain a lower pH in the compost so that gaseous ammonia emission was suppressed. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.
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