Humification index of composts originating from three types of woody biomass
Composting is a good method for recycling surplus manure and stabilizing organic matter from biowastes. Compost is used as a soil amendment and recently, for restoration of vegetation in barren areas. We investigated the relationship between the type of woody biomass (using Robinia pseudoacacia, Japanese larch and apple) and the humification index (HI) of the resulting compost. This study evaluated the difference in HI between the three compost types, and the structural features of composts and extracted humic acids (HAs). The HIs for R. pseudoacacia and apple were larger than that for Japanese larch after composting for 11 months. The structural features of the Japanese larch compost were also different from the apple and R. pseudoacacia, with a very high carbon/nitrogen ratio. The average molecular weights and ultraviolet–visible spectra (A600/C) of HAs extracted from composting samples at 0 and 11 months indicate that the humification rate of Japanese larch was slower than that of R. pseudoacacia and apple. During composting, the average molecular weights of apple and R. pseudoacacia decreased, while their A600/C values increased, but the reverse was observed for Japanese larch. The humification rate was found to depend on the type of woody biomass being composted.