Laboratory scale evaluation of volatile organic compound emissions as indication of swine carcass degradation inside biosecure composting units

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Akdeniz, Neslihan
Ahn, Hee-Kwon
Crawford, Benjamin
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Glanville, Thomas
Professor Emeritus
Raman, D. Raj
Morrill Professor
Koziel, Jacek
Professor Emeritus
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Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering

The Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering seeks to apply knowledge of the laws, forces, and materials of nature to the construction, planning, design, and maintenance of public and private facilities. The Civil Engineering option focuses on transportation systems, bridges, roads, water systems and dams, pollution control, etc. The Construction Engineering option focuses on construction project engineering, design, management, etc.

The Department of Civil Engineering was founded in 1889. In 1987 it changed its name to the Department of Civil and Construction Engineering. In 2003 it changed its name to the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering.

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  • Department of Civil Engineering (1889-1987)
  • Department of Civil and Construction Engineering (1987-2003)
  • Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering (2003–present)

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Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

Since 1905, the Department of Agricultural Engineering, now the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (ABE), has been a leader in providing engineering solutions to agricultural problems in the United States and the world. The department’s original mission was to mechanize agriculture. That mission has evolved to encompass a global view of the entire food production system–the wise management of natural resources in the production, processing, storage, handling, and use of food fiber and other biological products.

In 1905 Agricultural Engineering was recognized as a subdivision of the Department of Agronomy, and in 1907 it was recognized as a unique department. It was renamed the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering in 1990. The department merged with the Department of Industrial Education and Technology in 2004.

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  • Department of Agricultural Engineering (1907–1990)

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Biosecure livestock mortality composting systems have been used to dispose of diseased livestock mortalities. In those types of system, visual inspection of carcass degradation is not possible and monitoring VOCs (volatile organic compounds) released by carcasses is a new approach to assess progress of the composting process. In this study, field-scale livestock mortality composting systems were simulated and a laboratory scale composting system with aerobic and anaerobic test units was designed to collect VOC samples from the headspace of decaying plant materials (70 g dry weight) and swine tissues (70 g dry weight) at controlled operating temperatures. Headspace samples were collected with SPME (solid phase microextraction) and analyzed by a GC–MS (gas chromatography–mass spectrometry) system. Among the 43 VOCs identified, dimethyl disulfide, dimethyl trisulfide, and pyrimidine were found to be marker compounds of the mortality composting process. These compounds were only found to be produced by decaying swine tissues but not produced by decaying plant materials. The highest marker VOC emissions were measured during the first three weeks, and VOCs were not detected after the 6th week of the process, which indicates degradation processes were completed and compost materials microbially stabilized (no additional VOC production). Results of respiration tests also showed that compost materials were stabilized. Results of this study can be useful for field-scale composting operations but more studies are needed to show the effects of size and aeration rate of the composting units.


This is a manuscript of an article published as Akdeniz, Neslihan, Jacek A. Koziel, Hee-Kwon Ahn, Thomas D. Glanville, Benjamin P. Crawford, and D. Raj Raman. "Laboratory scale evaluation of volatile organic compound emissions as indication of swine carcass degradation inside biosecure composting units." Bioresource Technology 101, no. 1 (2010): 71-78. DOI: 10.1016/j.biortech.2009.07.076. Posted with permission.

Thu Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2009