AsianScientist (Apr. 9, 2019) – Using a porous material known as ceramsite, scientists in China have found a way to accelerate the process of composting. They published their findings in the Journal of Cleaner Production.
Composting is an economical and environmentally friendly method for disposing organic solid wastes. Ideally, the waste should be degraded and be rich in nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium which are needed for crop growth.
However, conventional composting usually takes months, and many of the nutrients are lost during the composting process. Seeking to accelerate composting while preserving the nutrient content of the resultant compost, scientists led by Professor Guo Rongbo at the Qingdao Institute of Bioenergy and Bioprocess Technology (QIBEBT) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences explored the use of porous ceramsite as the bulking agent.
The researchers demonstrated that the porous ceramsite increased the pore structure of the composting pile, which increased oxygen flow, thereby improving microorganism activity within the pile. They also showed that the addition of porous ceramsite could accelerate the biodegradation of organic waste and reduce the emission of anhydrous ammonia.
At the same time, ceramsite reduced nitrogen loss by increasing the adsorption of anhydrous ammonia to acidic functional groups on its surface. The researchers emphasised that ceramsite is inexpensive and recyclable, making it a highly sustainable bulking material for better composting.
Source: Chinese Academy of Sciences; Photo: Pixabay.
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