Odor and Odorous Chemical Emissions from Animal Buildings: Part 1. Project Overview, Collection Methods, and Quality Control

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Bereznicki, Sarah
Heber, Albert
Akdeniz, Neslihan
Jacobson, Larry
Hetchler, Brian
Heathcote, Katherine
Cai, Lingshuang
Zhang, Shicheng
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Hoff, Steven
Professor Emeritus
Koziel, Jacek
Professor Emeritus
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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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Livestock facilities have historically generated public concerns due to their emissions of odorous air and various chemical pollutants. Odor emission factors and identification of principal odorous chemicals are needed to better understand the problem. Applications of odor emission factors include inputs to odor setback models, while chemical emission factors may be compared with regulation thresholds as a means of demonstrating potential health impacts. A companion study of the National Air Emissions Monitoring Study (NAEMS) included measurements necessary for establishing odor and chemical emission factors for confined animal feeding operations. This additional investigation was conducted by the University of Minnesota, Iowa State University, West Texas A&M Agri-Life Center, and Purdue University. The objectives were to (1) determine odor emission rates across swine and dairy facilities and seasons using common protocols and standardized olfactometry methods, (2) develop a chemical library of the most significant odorants, and (3) correlate the chemical library with the olfactometry results. This document describes the sampling and quality assurance methods used in the measurement and evaluation of odor and chemical samples collected at two freestall dairy farms, one sow (gestation/farrowing) facility, and one finishing pig site. Odor samples were collected in Tedlar bags and chemical samples were collected in sorbent tubes at barn inlet and exhaust locations using the NAEMS multiple-location gas sampling systems. Quality assurance protocols included interlaboratory comparison tests, which were evaluated to identify variations between olfactometry labs. While differences were observed, the variations among the labs and samples appeared random and the collected odor data were considered reliable at a 0.5% level of statistical significance. Overall, the study took advantage of groundbreaking opportunities to collect and associate simultaneous odor and chemical information from swine and dairy buildings while maintaining accordance with standard methods and comparability across laboratories.


This article is from Transactions of the ASABE 55, no. 6 (2012): 2325–2334.

Sun Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2012