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Values of Composting

  • Soil, Water and Fertilizer Testing Laboratory for Research, Bahawalpur

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Decomposition of organic matter and conversion into a stable form during a thermophilic process generate a product known as “compost.” It is considered a viable tool for sustainable agriculture practice. The production procedure is environment-friendly, and there are enough strategies to provide nutrients to plants on a long-term basis. Vermicomposting, windrow composting, in-vessel composting, and aerated static pile composting are the main types of composting. The huge benefits documented in previous researches of compost are as follows: it can recover degraded soils, improve soil quality and health, supply a considerable amount of nutrients, and improve soil physicochemical properties. Compost helps plants to fight against pathogen attacks and diseases. The composting process emits many greenhouse gasses, but using different amendments and different kinds of compost raw material, their emission to the environment can be reduced. Because of the increment in population, agriculture is now practiced in areas near cities. This chapter covers the role of compost in improving soil quality, its effects on soil and environmental pollution, and challenges that are faced by farmers in peri-urban areas in the use of compost.
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KhalidRehmanHakeem Editors
Microbiota and
Vol 2
Ecofriendly Tools forReclamation
ofDegraded Soil Environs
Gowhar Hamid Dar • Rouf Ahmad Bhat
Mohammad Aneesul Mehmood
Khalid Rehman Hakeem
Microbiota and
Biofertilizers, Vol 2
Ecofriendly Tools forReclamation
ofDegraded Soil Environs
ISBN 978-3-030-61009-8 ISBN 978-3-030-61010-4 (eBook)
© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature
Switzerland AG 2021
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Gowhar Hamid Dar
Department of Environmental Science
Sri Pratap College, Cluster University
Srinagar, Higher Education Department
Jammu and Kashmir, India
Mohammad Aneesul Mehmood
Government Degree College
Pulwama, Jammu and Kashmir, India
Rouf Ahmad Bhat
Division of Environmental Science
Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural
Sciences and Technology of Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir, India
Khalid Rehman Hakeem
Department of Biological Sciences
King Abdulaziz University
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
1 Chemical Fertilizers and Their Impact on Soil Health . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Heena Nisar Pahalvi, Lone Raya, Sumaira Rashid, Bisma Nisar,
and Azra N. Kamili
2 Microbial Bioremediation of Pesticides/Herbicides in Soil . . . . . . . . . 21
Mohammad Saleem Wani, Younas Rasheed Tantray, Nazir Ahmad
Malik, Mohammad Irfan Dar, and Tawseef Ahmad
3 Pollution Cleaning Up Techniques . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61
Baba Uqab, Jeelani Gousia, Syeed Mudasir, and Shah Ishfaq
4 Role of Mushrooms in the Bioremediation of Soil . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77
Nazir Ahmad Malik, Jitender Kumar, Mohammad Saleem Wani,
Younas Rasheed Tantray, and Tawseef Ahmad
5 Microbial Degradation of Organic Constituents
for Sustainable Development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103
Zeenat Mushtaq, Humira Mushtaq, Shahla Faizan,
and Manzoor Ahmad Parray
6 Traditional Farming Practices and Its Consequences . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119
H. Hamadani, S. Mudasir Rashid, J. D. Parrah, A. A. Khan,
K. A. Dar, A. A. Ganie, A. Gazal, R. A. Dar, and Aarif Ali
7 Soil Organic Matter and Its Impact on Soil Properties
and Nutrient Status . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 129
Owais Bashir, Tahir Ali, Zahoor Ahmad Baba, G. H. Rather,
S. A. Bangroo, So Danish Mukhtar, Nasir Naik, Rehana
Mohiuddin, Varsha Bharati, and Rouf Ahmad Bhat
8 Sustainable Agricultural Practices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 161
S. J. A. Bhat, Syed Maqbool Geelani, Zulaykha Khurshid Dijoo,
Rouf Ahmad Bhat, and Mehraj ud din Khanday
9 Values of Composting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 175
Umair Riaz, Shazia Iqbal, Faizan Ra, Madiha Batool,
Nadia Manzoor, Waqas Ashraf, and Ghulam Murtaza
10 Introduction to Microbiota and Biofertilizers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 195
Bisma Nisar, Sumaira Rashid, Lone Raya Majeed, Heena Nisar
Pahalvi, and Azra N. Kamili
11 Fungi and Their Potential as Biofertilizers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 233
Irfan-ur-Rauf Tak, Gowhar Hamid Dar, and Rouf Ahmad Bhat
12 Bacillus thuringiensis as a Biofertilizer and Plant Growth
Promoter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 251
Jorge Delm and Zulaykha Khurshid Dijoo
13 Cyanobacteria as Sustainable Microbiome for Agricultural
Industries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 267
Charu Gupta, Mir Sajad Rabani, Mahendra K. Gupta, Aukib Habib,
Anjali Pathak, Shivani Tripathi, and Rachna Singh
14 Intercropping: A Substitute but Identical of Biofertilizers . . . . . . . . . 293
Muhammad Khashi u Rahman, Zahoor Hussain, Xingang Zhou,
Irfan Ali, and Fengzhi Wu
15 Application of Phyllosphere Microbiota as Biofertilizers . . . . . . . . . . 311
Iqra Bashir, Rezwana Assad, Aadil Farooq War, Iah Raq,
Irshad Ahmad So, Zafar Ahmad Reshi, and Irfan Rashid
16 Biofertilizers: A Viable Tool for Future Organic Agriculture . . . . . . . 329
Umair Riaz, Ghulam Murtaza, Ayesha Abdul Qadir, Faizan Ra,
Muhammad Akram Qazi, Shahid Javid, Muhammad Tuseef,
and Muhammad Shakir
Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 341
175© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature
Switzerland AG 2021
G. H. Dar et al. (eds.), Microbiota and Biofertilizers, Vol 2,
Chapter 9
Values ofComposting
UmairRiaz, ShaziaIqbal, FaizanRa, MadihaBatool, NadiaManzoor,
WaqasAshraf, andGhulamMurtaza
9.1 Introduction
Compost served as a source of nutrients, and it has numerous advantages as well as
disadvantages due to its organic nature. Compost is used as a soil conditioner, added
essential humus and humic acid in the soil, and is used as a fertilizer and pesticide
for cropland. In a simple method of compost formation, the heap of organic matter
is formed, and that material changes to humus after a few months. Different types
of waste products, e.g., municipal sewage, cattle manure, tree bark, and root waste,
are used for compost formation (Gaind 2014).There are three elements of compost-
ing: human management, production of internal heat, and the presence of air.
Carbon is required for energy production in composting. Heat is produced at the
result of oxidation of carbon by microorganisms (Vidović and Runko Luttenberger
2019; Bhat etal. 2018a). Nitrogen is required for the reproduction and growth of the
organism for the oxidation of carbon. Oxygen is used in the decomposition process
for the oxidation of carbon, and water is also required during decomposition. At the
carbon-to-nitrogen ratio of 25:1, the maximum composting occurs (Tilley 2014). In
U. Riaz ()
Soil and Water Testing Laboratory for Research, Agriculture Department,
Government of Punjab, Bahawalpur, Pakistan
S. Iqbal · F. Ra · M. Batool · G. Murtaza
Institute of Soil and Environmental Sciences, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan
N. Manzoor
Department of Soil Chemistry, Regional Agricultural Research Institute,
Bahawalpur, Pakistan
W. Ashraf
Department of Plant Pathology, University College of Agriculture and Environmental
Sciences, Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Bahawalpur, Pakistan
hot container composting, the compost is produced quickly because heat remains
inside the container (Haug 2018). The carbon-to-nitrogen ratio should be 30–35 for
the decomposition of feedstock, and the production of raw material is considered as
the initial step of decomposition (Gil etal. 2008; Bhat etal. 2017a, b; So etal.
2017). Aeration, moisture, type of feedstock, and C:N ratio are said to be the main
factors that affect the process of composting. If the condition is anaerobic, it would
lead to fermentation, and if the C:N ratio is not correct, it will increase the length of
the composting process.
The growth of microorganisms will be affected if the moisture is low in the com-
posting process (Füleky and Benedek 2010). The layout of composting process is
shown in Fig.9.1. The windrow method is said to be the most convenient method of
composting. In this method, the raw material is set in parallel rows; the piles are
allowed to rotate for the increase of oxygen supply. The moisture of piles is also
removed by turning the windrows. The windrows are rotated twice a week usually.
Another system used for composting of organic matter is called aerated static piles;
in this system, the organic matter is placed in perforated pipes, and the material does
not move to another place for aeration (Wang and Li 2009; Bhat etal. 2017a, b,
2018a, b; Qadri and Bhat 2020).
The atmospheric nitrogen-xing bacteria and archaea are the main microorgan-
isms that transform nitrogen during the composting process (Pepe etal. 2013). In the
compost formation, fungi are found during the initial and last stage of the process.
Aspergillus, Penicillium, Mortierella, and Acremonium are the essential genera
(Anastasi etal. 2005). In the degradation of a complex organic compound, actinobac-
teria play a signicant role because it can grow in high temperatures. In the fermenta-
tion process, available carbon converts into unavailable carbon due to actinobacteria
(Shilev etal. 2007). In the initial stage of composting, the breakdown of organic
nitrogen occurs into small compounds, and many types of bacteria, fungi, and other
microorganisms take part. In the organic matter to be composted, the microorgan-
isms are present, which convert the protein into amino acids by the release of prote-
ases (Vargas-García etal. 2010; Dervash etal. 2020; Khanday etal. 2016).
Fig. 9.1 The composting process
U. Riaz et al.
9.2 Historical Background andPerspectives
About 6000years ago, the rst pits were built in Sumerian cities; the organic matter
of these piles was used to apply in elds for the sake of agriculture. These piles were
built outside the houses (Waldron and Nichols 2009). People of India, China, and
South America use animal and human residues in agriculture as a source of fertilizer
(Howard 1942). Sir Albert Howard was the rst person who worked on the manage-
ment of composting in India, and he also made advancements in modern compost-
ing (Howard 1933). Indore process was developed by Sir Howard in collaboration
with other persons. Firstly, only animal manures were used in this process, but then
human feces and other materials were also used (Brunt 1949). Indore method was
improved and named Bangalore process by the Indian Council of Agricultural
Research in Bangalore (Diaz and De Bertoldi 2007). In China composting was stud-
ied by Scott and some other people, and they used night soil in 1935, but they
stopped their studies due to World War II.Later, they mentioned the issue of com-
posting human waste (Scott 1952).
An experiment was performed by Waksman and others from 1926 to 1941 on the
formation of compost in the presence of air using vegetables. They studied the effect
of different temperatures on degradation and studied the part of microorganisms in
the decomposition of organic matter (Stotzky 1965). From 1920 to 1930, Beccari
process was adopted by the USA, Florida, and NewYork. In Scarsdale, a plant was
developed, and the awful smell was observed when the doors of the plant were
opened. This lousy smell was produced because of anaerobic conditions developed
in the plant. The NewYork Health Department failed to control these issues, so they
stopped this facility, unfortunately (University of California 1950).
In the USA, the Frazer process was used in 1949; the organic matter was led in
a digester having an aerobic environment. The organic matter was mixed thoroughly
and then moved to screening. The material was sent back to the composting process
after screening (Eweson 1953). The composting of biosolids was started in 1973 by
the USDA (Willson and Walker 1973). The static pile method of composting was
introduced by Beltsville in 1975 (Epstein etal. 1976). Much work had been done on
the formation and use of compost in Japan in 1970 and 1980 (Yoshida and Kubota
1979). Composting is being used by gardeners and farmers for many centuries.
Composting has been used in agriculture to improve fertility from the time no one
knows. The manure from animals and organic materials from vegetables were
thrown in piles and placed into pits. These were then decomposed by the microor-
ganisms present in the soil naturally. The time taken by this process ranged from
6months to a year. The simple techniques to cover it with soil or turning all the
materials were utilized. In China, the fecal material of humans, along with that of
animal and vegetable manure, is in use for almost 4000years. This led to an increase
in soil fertility that supported a dense human population. A layer of green manures
together with river silt, animal waste, and rice straw with superphosphate has been
in use in a primitive method called “pit manure.” In this method, a rectangular or a
circular pit was dug. The area of this pit was almost 10m2. The moisture was
conserved by wetting an upper layer of mud. It not only conserved moisture but
9 Values ofComposting
assisted in avoiding loss of nutrients and maintenance of temperature. All the mate-
rial was turned three times per month. The anaerobic conditions were maintained
throughout the process (Lopez-Real 1996).
9.3 Types ofCompost
The quality and type of compost are one of the essential criteria in its use as an
organic amendment and a recycling process for organic waste (Lasaridi etal. 2006).
The composts are used extensively in agriculture, mostly due to enormous organic
matter and mineral components that are found in manure, municipal waste, sewage
sludges, etc. These assist in the reclamation of soil and for better crop production.
This is all done after running them through appropriate processes of stabilization
(Campitelli and Ceppi 2008).
The following are the types of compost:
(a) Aerated static pile composting
(b) Windrow composting
(c) Vermicomposting
(d) In-vessel composting
9.3.1 Aerated Static Pile Composting
The distinguishing feature of this composting system is the use of a grid for aeration
pipes (Fig.9.2). It is done for forced aeration. The pile is aerated by a fan or blower.
This type of composting involves the mixing of dehydrated sludge with wood chips,
Fig. 9.2 Lay out of an aerated static pile composting
U. Riaz et al.
which is used as a bulking agent. The other process is followed by the building of a
pile of compost above the grid of aeration pipes, composting, ltering of the com-
post, curing, and then storage. The following is the procedure of aerated static pile
composting. The 100–150mm plastic pipes are used to make aeration grid. These
are then tted in the 1ft plenum of wood chips. The wood chips assist in even dis-
tribution of air and for absorbance of moisture from the pile. The height of the pile
ranges from 6 to 8ft. The temperature and oxygen are controlled by forced air in
aerated static pile composting (Metcalf 2003).
9.3.2 Windrow Composting
In this process, the composting material is thoroughly mixed with a bulking agent.
These are then formed in long rows. These parallel rows are called windrows. The
height of a windrow ranges from 3 to 6ft with 6–14ft width at the base. The height
and width depend on the types of equipment used for turning and mixing of the
windrows. This type of composting is done on open sites. The rows are continu-
ously turned upside down to expose composting materials properly. The movement
of air is eased by it. The moisture is also decreased by it. The most used machine for
turning windrows is a front-end loader, which is shown in Fig.9.3.
Fig. 9.3 Lay out of an open windrow composting
9 Values ofComposting
9.3.3 Vermicomposting
A nely powdered peat-like mature substance which is produced as a result of the
non-thermophilic procedure and engaging interaction between earthworms and
microbes is known as vermicomposting. This results in stabilization and oxidation
of organic matter. The primary process of vermicomposting revolves around the
conversion of solid organic waste into vermicompost through the non-thermophilic
procedure. This is one of the eco-friendliest technologies that are used as an organic
fertilizer. The most found bacteria in vermicomposting are from Rhizobium,
Pseudomonas, Nitrosomonas, Azotobacter, and Bacillus. The nutrition provided to
plants by vermicompost is higher than other composts (Joshi etal. 2015) (Fig.9.4).
9.3.4 In-Vessel Composting
In-vessel composting is done inside a container. A more consistent and stabilized
compost can be made by this process in lesser time because environmental condi-
tions like oxygen, airow, and temperature are controlled. The odors produced as
the result of this process are also contained in in-vessel composting. There are two
classes of this type, namely, dynamic reactors and agitated reactors. The following
schematic diagram (Fig.9.5) shows this type of composting.
Fig. 9.4 A schematic diagram of a worm tunnel for the production of vermin compost
U. Riaz et al.
9.4 Compost: AViable Tool forSustainable Agriculture
Compost can be incorporated to the soil, to recover degraded soils; to control plant
disease; to increase or maintain soil fertility to reduce negative impacts and produc-
tion costs of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and fuel; to sequester carbon into the
soil; and to reduce global warming (Dar etal. 2013; Scotti etal. 2016; Sánchez etal.
2017; Vázquez and Soto 2017; Mushtaq et al. 2018). Compost helps to improve
microbial activity, organic matter, and bring back dead soil to life. It serves as a
mulching material, nursery cultivation substrate, a growing medium, or porous
absorbent material that holds moisture and soluble minerals and provides nutrients
and support to help plants ourish. Composting can be a well-thought-out C-based
system, like agricultural management practices, reforestation, or other waste man-
agement industries and an alternative to landll (Brown etal. 2008; Quirós et al.
2014). Compost possesses little physical similarity to the originated raw material,
but its nutrient content differs with the type of materials used for the initial mass
preparation. Final compost characterization of generally hinge on initial C:N ratio of
used materials (Arbab and Mubarak 2016). Compost provides nutrients to the soil
for a long time. Compost acts as a slow nutrient release fertilizer and improves nutri-
ent use efciency. It takes at least 3years to establish its full value. As a rule, com-
post releases 40% of phosphorus, 20% of nitrogen, and 80% potassium in the rst
year of application. Organic nitrogen released at a constant rate with continuous
application of compost from the accumulated humus and increased nitrogen use ef-
ciency of chemical fertilizers over 50% over the years. Phosphorus availability is
sometimes much higher than that of inorganic fertilizers (Sinha etal. 2012; Singh
Fig. 9.5 Schematic diagram of in-vessel composting
9 Values ofComposting
etal. 2020). Compared to the separate addition of biochar or compost, their com-
bined application was more effective to improve soil pH, organic matter, organic
carbon, and available potassium (Tang etal. 2020). The on-farm composting process
resembles the recent indication and provision of the European Commission on agri-
cultural biomass recycling for production and application of organic-based fertilizer
in soil to the management of the organic matter. These approaches are supposed to
signify an important inuence and valuable chance to advance the circular economy
at local as well as regional scale (European Commission 2017). The compost appli-
cation in agriculture could encounter the European Union country’s target objective
to cut the organic waste quantity going to landll sites by 50% by 2050 (European
Commission 1999).
Compost helps to conserve soil and water, balance the soil pH in a way that
diminishes plant stress, control soil runoff and erosion, and improve chemical prop-
erties of soil and invigorate degraded soils and ecosystems (Hernadez etal. 2015).
It improves availability to plants by nutrient mobilization, soil structure water-
holding capacity, and aeration, suppresses soilborne diseases, and promotes micro-
bial life in soil (Tejada etal. 2009; Hadar 2011; Macci etal. 2012). Vermicompost,
human compost, and cow compost affected soil chemical properties in the culti-
vated green bean plot. A signicant increase in soil EC, soil pH, and organic carbon
of soil and green bean yield under human compost was observed than in other com-
posts for 0–15cm depth. This proves that the fertilizer value of the sanitary products
was higher than that of vermicompost and cow compost. Sanitary products (human
waste) can be used as a soil amendment and nutrient source, but it is high in salinity
(Uwamahoro etal. 2019).
Application of green manure and compost (0, 10, and 20tha1) alone or in com-
bination with mineral nitrogen (0, 43, and 86kgNha1) recovers soil properties and
improves growth and yield of sweet pepper. In this context, compost was better than
green manure (Mahgoub 2014). Composted poultry manure application along with
some microbial inoculation improved nutrient status of calcareous soil (Iqbal etal.
2016). Additionally, application of wheat straw and cow manure compost at the
ratio of 3:1 alone (0, 4, 8, 12, and 16 ton fed1) or in combination with chemical
fertilizers 86kgNha1 and 43kg P2O5 ha1 for wheat and 86kgNha1 for okra crop
had signicantly improved soil properties. Nutrient uptake increased signicantly
by plant and improved the yield and growth for wheat and okra. The combination of
chemical fertilizers with compost (16 ton fed1) gave the highest nutrient content,
grain yield, crude protein, potassium, and phosphorus percent (Eltayeb 2018).
However, this high amount of compost is not good from an economic point of view.
The application of sewage sludge compost is helpful in enlightening soil conditions
and the yield of sorghum fodder. The combination of sludge compost with recurrent
irrigation can upsurge yield by more than 47% compared to air-dry sludge treatment
(Shashoug etal. 2017).
The use of compost is a sustainable approach to mitigate, control, or prevent
harmful plant diseases and pests. It affects vascular, foliar, as well as root patho-
gens. Compost can decrease crop losses by soilborne diseases by disease suppres-
sion. On the other hand, it acts as a shelter and food source for the enemies of plant
U. Riaz et al.
pathogens and stimulates their proliferation (Hadar 2011). Disease control by com-
post largely depends on the substrate or soil properties, i.e., biotic and physico-
chemical parameters, the composting process used, and raw material composition in
the preparation of compost, and on the quality and maturity of the compost (Janvier
etal. 2007). Long periods of compost maturation can decrease microbial activity
and, therefore, decrease the disease suppression ability (Zmora-Nahum etal. 2008).
Bacteria belonging to genera Enterobacter spp., Bacillus spp., Streptomyces spp.,
Trichoderma spp., Pseudomonas spp., as well as several Penicillium spp., isolates,
and other fungi have been recognized as biocontrol agents in compost-amended
substrates (Pugliese etal. 2008). Sterilization or heat treatments can drop the sup-
pressive effect of the compost (Pugliese etal. 2011). However, insufcient research
is found about the direct effect of compost on pest management. For instance, both
indirect and direct links were found between aphids, predators, and compost.
Compost-treated plots conrmed lower aphid population numbers pointedly when
predators’ numbers are suggestively higher. Aphids were also lower signicantly
than in plots without compost (Bell etal. 2008). The compost teas have an extensive
series of microora like actinomycetes, bacteria, fungi, etc., with variable occur-
rence and population. Most of the microoras are potential antagonists against dif-
ferent disease agents such as Alternaria alternata. Individually, actinomycetes and
anaerobic bacterial isolates were proved more effective than some others (Praveena
and Reddy 2013).
9.5 Compost Application inPeri-urban Areas
Peri-urban agriculture is an integral part of the twenty-rst-century economy. It is a
rural-urban transition zone. Because of the increasing population and spread in
urbanized areas, agriculture farms once sited in rural areas are now surrounded by
urban areas (Cohen and Reynolds 2015). Peri-urban agriculture is the livestock
rearing or crop production for sale or consumption within the city areas. It is well-
known that peri-urban agriculture addresses the threefold security global goals
(FAO 2008), i.e., (i) sustainable management and use of natural resources, (ii) sus-
tainable increases in food production and availability, and (iii) economic and social
progress (Bougnom etal. 2014). Peri-urban agriculture plays a role in the urban
social, economic, and ecological systems (Mougeot 2002). Achieving food security
requires an increase in production in the cities, along with a sustainable farming
system. Peri-urban agriculture requires a large number of inputs, such as plant
nutrients. Chemical fertilizers are usually suggested to maintenance farmers, but
they are expensive to use. Chemical fertilizers and pesticides are persistent and
remain in water and soil. They will cause pollution by accumulation in soils, runoff,
and horticultural crops, by the accumulation of organic compounds and heavy met-
als in aquatic life, by seepage into aquifers, by airborne chemicals, and by direct
contact. Therefore, to replace inorganic fertilizers, composting material is used in
many areas of the world. Composting seems to be a possible way to handle organic
9 Values ofComposting
waste management in the cities and to provide peri-urban agriculture with organic
fertilizers (Bougnom etal. 2014; Dar etal. 2016). Compost lessens transportation
costs because some of the waste can go into the compost piles as a replacement for
landlling (Eureka Recycling 2001), while composting without an understanding
of the adverse effects on neighbors can have damaging effects on communities
(Krasa etal. 2017).
The commercial compost contains the raw material from various sources and
may have a considerable amount of heavy metals in their composition (Riaz etal.
2017). Seven different composting mixtures from fresh vegetable leaves and fallen
tree leaves mixed with maize or grass straw (0%, 10%, 30%, and 50% w/w) are
common in peri-urban areas of Harare. The composts with a 30% straw mixture
effectively reduced nitrogen losses and had higher potential as a soil amendment in
the peri-urban areas of Harare (Mhindu etal. 2013). Raw fecal sludge and wood
chips and maize cobs from three peri-urban communities were composted. The
results showed that the total N and carbon contents of all materials decreased. At the
end of the composting process, the experiment showed lower phosphorus and potas-
sium (K) available concentrations than in the original substrate materials. Maize
cob that contained more phosphorus, nitrogen, potassium, and carbon is the most
ideal (Appiah-Effaha etal. 2016).
9.6 Compost Versus Environmental andSoil Pollution
Human activities, such as mining, chemical manufacturing, smelting, fertilizer
application, fossil fuel combustion, and tanning, are the main reasons of heavy
metal, pesticide, harmful chemical, and oil-based hydrocarbon accumulation and
pollution in soil (Liu etal. 2019a, b; Tang etal. 2019). Heavy metals and other
chemicals are generally not degradable, and their buildup in the soil causes pollu-
tion and threatens human health (Liu etal. 2019c; Bhatti etal. 2017). Many coun-
tries have been endangered by heavy metal pollution in soil, including China, the
USA, Italy, Mexico, etc. (Tang etal. 2019). Many studies have been done on removal
or immobilization of heavy metals in soil with numerous inorganic and organic
additives (Lu etal. 2017). Compost can lessen exchangeable and mobile metal frac-
tion of contaminated soil and has been used as a highly effective heavy metal
removal amendment (Liang etal. 2017; Dar and Bhat 2020). Compost comprises a
large number of humic substances, which can form stable organometallic com-
plexes with metal ions in the soil to reduce the mobility of metals (Arif etal. 2018;
Gusiatin and Kulikowska 2016). Moreover, compost with low carbon-to-N ratio and
a high proportion of humic substances to TOC can more effectively reduce the
mobility of heavy metals in soil (Gusiatin and Kulikowska 2016). Conversely, some
heavy metals such as Cu may be activated by humic acid (Zeng etal. 2015). The
increase in available P by composting decreased heavy metal availability, possibly
by complexation and with phosphate precipitation (Ahmad etal. 2012). More phos-
phate availability increased arsenate availability because of the same chemical
U. Riaz et al.
nature (Beesley etal. 2014). Compost increases soil organic matter, and it acts as an
essential heavy metal (Cd and Zn) adsorbent because of the presence of many func-
tional groups, such as –OH and –COOH.These functional groups can bind metal
ions and form stable anti-desorption complexes (Yang etal. 2016). Compost with
biochar remediates the heavy metal pollution in soil. Compost and biochar signi-
cantly reduced the availability of Zn and Cd but activated Cu and As slightly. Also,
soil enzyme, catalase, dehydrogenase, and urease activities were activated by com-
post (Tang etal. 2020). Combined compost and plant technology can remove 50%
of hexavalent chromium in chromium eluted soil (Mangkoedihardjo etal. 2008).
The use of vegetal material compost has been encouraged strongly and better
explored gradually for the remediation of the contaminated soil. Vegetal materials
compost caused vertical transport and rapid mobilization of As and trace metals
(Beesley and Dickinson 2010). Green waste composts comprise carboxylate groups
(8.8%) and inorganic ash (46.1%) and immobilized Cu soils contaminated by metals
(Tsang etal. 2014).
Animal manure compost with more than 50% inorganic fraction (high phospho-
rous) decreased the amounts of water-soluble lead by over 88% compared to the soil
without compost. However, the microbial enzyme activity levels were the same or
less than those in the control soil. Animal manure compost with 25% inorganic frac-
tion did not suppress the water-soluble lead existed during the rst 30days, but it
improved microbial enzyme activities (Katoh etal. 2016; Mehmood etal. 2019).
Pesticides are used for pest and weed control. However, it affects the soil and air
quality as these chemicals can drift to other sites (Arias-Estéveza et al. 2008).
Pesticides induce detectable changes in structure, functionality, and size of the
microbial community, thus changing life dynamics, functions, and biodiversity of
soil organisms (Yañez-Ocampo et al. 2011; Chen et al. 2015; Cruz et al. 2015).
Composting can stabilize pesticides in soils through microbial degradation and can
improve soil quality (Chen etal. 2015). Biochar and compost, two frequent amend-
ments, were used to investigate their combined inuence on enzymatic activities
and microbial communities in organic-polluted wetlands. Compost application (2%
and 10%) enhanced degradation efciency of sulfamethoxazole by 0.033% and
0.222%, respectively, along with biochar due to the upsurge of biomass and enzymes
(Liang etal. 2020). Composts of cow dung, yard manure, corn stalks, corn fermen-
tation by-product, and sawdust have been used to improve the herbicide removal of
triuralin, metolachlor, and atrazine in contaminated soils (Moorman etal. 2001).
Compost addition to soil has improved degradation of herbicides, MCPA
(4-chloro- 2-methylphenoxyacetic acid), and benthiocarb (S-4-chlorobenzyl dieth-
ylthiocarbamate). Composting of contaminated sawmill soil degraded chlorophe-
nols effectively (Megharaj et al. 2011). Composting pile produced out of straw
compost and chlorophenol- contaminated soil degraded more than 90% of the chlo-
rophenols (Chen etal. 2015).
Rumen residue and yard waste alteration accelerate the aromatic and aliphatic
fractions of petroleum hydrocarbon degradation in crude oil-contaminated soil as
the primary substrate in the composting process. Petroleum hydrocarbon degrada-
tion efciency was 31 times higher in soils added with rumen residue and yard
9 Values ofComposting
waste mixture than contaminated soil, which satised the quality standard of soil
(6974.58mgkg1). The total petroleum hydrocarbon degradation might be com-
pleted by Bacillus sp. and Bacillus cereus as the main bacteria at the end of the
composting process (Sari and Trihadiningrum 2019).
Motor oil pollution in the soil is a major environmental issue related to illegal
dumping and improper handling of industrial waste. A combined alternative bio-
logical treatment that focuses on composting the polluted soil with yard trimmings
was done. A 12% degradation of total petroleum hydrocarbons present in motor oil
after a 9-week composting process was achieved. An additional 50% decrease in
total petroleum hydrocarbons was reached after planting Lolium perenne with the
highest microbial count, 2.8 × 107CFU, of bacterial species, Azotobacter vinelan-
dii, Bacillus brevis, Burkholderia cepacia, and Stenotrophomonas maltophilia
(Escobar-Alvarado etal. 2015).
Composting decreases environmental problems related to waste management by
decreasing waste volumes and by killing potentially dangerous organisms.
Composting can effectively recycle valuable organic matter nutrients that are
trapped in the environment. Landlls generate emissions, mostly containing meth-
ane, a more toxic greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Landlling is considered a
signicant contributor to the increase in greenhouse gas emission. Developing
countries caused about 29% of these emissions in the year 2000, and this is pre-
dicted to increase to 64% in 2030 and 76% in 2050 (Monni etal. 2006). Moreover,
landlls produce hazardous leachate that can degrade habitats and water quality as
well as poison ora and fauna if it enters water sources. The US Composting Council
notes that although barriers are often put in place in an attempt to prevent emissions
and leachate escaping, if these liners break down, contaminants can be leaked into
surface runoff and groundwater. By diverting organic wastes from landlls, the
lifespan of municipal landlls can be lengthened, reducing the need to create new
landlls. Keeping organics out of waste stream continually can extend the life of
municipal landlls. This improves the air quality by reduced emission processing as
well as anthropogenic greenhouse gas production (EPA, CalRecycle, Clean Air
Council, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, US Composting Council).
Composting, as an alternative to waste incineration, has huge inferences for civi-
lizing environmental quality. The Environmental Protection Agency and the US
Composting Council reported that aerobic composting does not expressively add to
an increase in CO2 emissions. The Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives
reported that waste incinerators produce more CO2 emissions compared to coal, oil,
or natural gas-fueled power plants. Any emissions from aerobic composting are
considered part of the natural carbon cycling. Aerobic compost can also be used as
a landll cover to reduce methane emissions. Aerobic compost as a bio-lter can
eliminate 80–90% of volatile organic compounds from gas streams. It sequesters
carbon in the ground, acts as a carbon sink, and promotes soil structural stability and
fertility (EPA, US Composting Council, the Global Alliance for Incinerator
During composting, microorganisms consume oxygen and decompose organic
materials, generating water vapor heat and carbon dioxide. During decomposition,
U. Riaz et al.
mineral nutrients such as sulfur, P, and N are released, and a substantial amount of
potent greenhouse gasses (i.e., methane and nitrous oxide), ammonia, and NOx are
produced during composting as well. Several strategies have been established to
diminish greenhouse gas emissions and N losses from composting (Chowdhury
etal. 2014; Wang etal. 2014). A recent study showed the inuence of biochar and
bean dreg addition during pig manure composting on the emission of N, greenhouse
gas, and ammonia. During pig manure composting, the combined application of
biochar and bean dregs decreased N loss (24.26%), greenhouse emissions (29.56%),
and ammonia emissions (33.71%) (Yang etal. 2020).
The use of straw from vegetable waste composting reduced total N loss by 33%
and from manure composting by 27–30% (Vu etal. 2015). High C:N materials, for
example, straw, sawdust, and biochar, decreased N2O emissions by 37–43% and
methane emissions by 70–90% from composting (Jiang etal. 2011; Chowdhury
etal. 2014; Vu etal. 2015). Aeration is another option for mitigating N losses and
greenhouse gas emissions from composting because it reduces the presence of
anaerobic hotspots in a composting pile. Anaerobic compost method decreased total
N losses by 70% and ammonia emissions by 90% (Sagoo etal. 2007). A decrease of
72–78% N losses was reported by composting (Shah etal. 2012, 2016), and N
losses of less than 2% of the initial total N by leachates were reported under rela-
tively higher aeration rates (De Guardia etal. 2010). Nonmixing of cow manure
compost produced 3.5 times less N2O compared to the unturned pile composting
method (Ahn etal. 2011). However, in another study, the mixed composting method
increased ammonia volatilization and reduced N2O emissions to the environment
(Szanto etal. 2007). The emission of N2O from soil was increased by sludge or
biomass composting (He etal. 2016). Frequent turning of compost pile increased
the total N losses by more than double compared to less frequent turning. More
aeration increase N loss by ammonia volatilization (Cook etal. 2015). An increase
of over 88% in total N was recorded during higher aeration. Methane emission is
decreased by composting (Chowdhury etal. 2014).
9.7 Conclusion
Compost is used in agricultural soil as a soil amendment and conditioner. Compost
improves the soil structure, organic matter content, and water relations. It helps to
remediate the soil from heavy metals, polyaromatic hydrocarbons, pesticide, and
herbicide residues by making complexes. Nutrients such as P content are improved
by compost that also helps in remediating the soil from heavy metal, especially
arsenate, by making complexes. Compost releases many greenhouse gasses to the
environment and causes pollution. Different amendments and different types of
composting materials helped to reduce the emission of greenhouse gasses.
Agriculture farm practices near cities known as peri-urban agriculture recently used
compost as a soil amendment, but due to the much civil legislation and neighbor’s
rights legislation, its use is under restriction in many areas of the world. However, it
is used in many peri-urban areas as fertilizers successfully.
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Rwanda, same to other corners of the worlds has awareness to use organic fertilizers (composts) both for nutrient supply to plant (fertilizers) and for improving soil physical conditions (soil amendment). This has pushed the government of Rwanda and private sectors working in Rwanda to put more effort to boost the production and use of compost. However, the demand rate is increasing than the production rate due to the insufficient and accessibility of row materials and sometimes to the lack of awareness and skills for small farmers. Moreover The sanitary products (i.e toilet waste) has recently and currently seen as a low-cost alternative to supplement available composts in different countries of the worlds and in Rwanda and if these products are not managed carefully, underground water pollution, waste of land for new pits and waste of water for flashing toilets will continue to occur. The aim of this study was to assess the effects of human compost on the some soil chemical properties and on green bean productivity compared to other available composts (cow and vermicompost). The treatments were control (without any compost), human compost, cow compost and vermicompost. The effect on soil chemical properties were assessed by sampling soil in the cultivated plot and bring them to laboratory for analysis of soil pH and electrical conductivity (EC) whereas effect on green bean yield was assessed by counting number of pods and their weight for each treatment. The results showed that there is a significant increase of soil pH, soil EC and organic carbon in soil under human compost than in other composts for (0-15) cm depth. Concerning the effect on green bean yield, the yield obtained in plot amended by human compost was significantly higher than that obtained in plots amended by cow compost and vermicompost, meaning that the fertilizer value of the sanitary products was higher than that of available composts. Sanitary products (human waste) can be reused as nutrient source and soil amendment but care must be taken on its salinity.
Full-text available
Given that composting represents a natural process of biodegradation the product of which is humus, the paper analyses the onset of composting process and highlights its numerous benefits for flora, fauna and humans. Emphasized is the role compost has in reducing the effects of global warming through improving soil structure and the amount of carbon captured in it. Basic stages are described that take place in the soil the output whereof is compost, and issues that can arise during the composting process are listed, such as odours, excessive humidity or dryness of soil, and disproportionate presence of insects. The authors advocate implementation of home composting by which separation and reduction of volumes of municipal waste are achieved as bio-waste makes more than 30% of municipal waste and also point out that home composting results in a valuable product which contributes to soil fertility.
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On earth, all forms of life wholly and solely depend upon the clean water sources for their survival. The freshwater ecosystems are home for large number of organisms from microscopic to macroscopic species. However, water pollution has changed the history of freshwater ecosystems due to addition of variety of pollutants. The problem of water pollution is getting worsened year after year which ultimately affects the limited freshwater resources. The anthropogenic activities have created a situation that may, in the coming years, cause permanent damage to the balanced structure of freshwater ecosystems. There are numerous techniques available for wastewater treatment prior to its discharge into recipient water bodies. But, due to one or other reasons, these conventional techniques fail to meet the demands of treating the wastewaters. Besides, efficiency of these available conventional techniques is also a matter of concern. The literature cited in this chapter suggests that nanotechnology could be a valuable, efficient and clean technology to treat the wastewaters. It is not selective to cleanup only organic based pollutants but efficient to remediate heavy metals (Cd²⁺, Pb²⁺, Zn²⁺, Hg²⁺ and Cr³⁺) and pesticides in wastewaters. Furthermore, due to an excellent adsorption and catalytic properties of nanomaterials, it has proven to have marvellous antimicrobial activity, pathogen detection and disinfectant quality for the treatment wastewaters.
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Although three quarters of Earth is occupied by water but quantity of available fresh water is limited. In a vast arena of environmental issues during the present era, aquatic pollution is one of the major problems. In order to curb the growing concern of aquatic pollution, biotechnological interventions provide distinguished avenues in the form of novel techniques of remediation (biodegradation, biostimulation, blastofiltration, cyanoremediation, biosparging and mycoremediation). And in order to hold back effluence of pollutants into aquatic environs, biotechnological gadgets (biological fuel cells and biosensors) are quite helpful to achieve sustainable development.
This research illustrates the qualitative and quantitative composition of the mycoflora of both a green compost (thermophilically produced from plant debris) and a vermicompost (mesophilically produced by the action of earthworms on plant and animal wastes after thermophilic preconditioning). Fungi were isolated using three media (PDA, CMC, PDA plus cycloheximide), incubated at three temperatures (24, 37 and 45 C). Substantial quali-quantitative differences in the species composition of the two composts were observed. The total fungal load was up to 8.2 × 10⁵ CFU/g dwt in compost and 4.0 × 10⁵ CFU/g dwt in vermicompost. A total of 194 entities were isolated: 118 from green compost, 142 from vermicompost; 66 were common to both. Structural characterization of this kind is necessary to determine the most appropriate application of a compost and its hygienic quality.
This research investigated the influence of biochar (B) and bean dregs (BD) amendments on carbon and nitrogen losses through greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions during pig manure (PM) composting. The treatments included 15% BD, 10% B and 15% BD+10% B (w/w dry basis of PM) amendments in the compost, whereas the CK (control) lacked any additives. The NH4+-N, C/N and germination index (GI) of the end products ensured compost maturity. Compared with the CK, the 15% BD amendment increased the total nitrogen content (TKN) of the final product by 8.05% but also increased NH3 (54.98%) and GHG emissions (40.35%) as well as nitrogen loss (25.62%). Furthermore, the combined treatment of 15% BD+10% B improved the TKN (2.83%) of the end product and controlled NH3 emissions (33.71%), GHG emissions (29.56%) and nitrogen loss (24.26%) while increasing CO2 only with the 15% BD amendment. Therefore, the combination of BD+B was recommended.
Biochar and compost have been widely used for pollution remediation of heavy metals in soil. However, little research was conducted to explore the efficiency of biochar, compost and their combination to reduce heavy metals availability, and the effects of their additive on soil biological properties are often neglected. Therefore, this study investigated the effects of biochar, compost and their combination on availability of heavy metals, physicochemical features and enzyme activities in soil. Results showed that adding amendments to polluted soil significantly altered soil properties. Compared to the separate addition of biochar or compost, their combined application was more effective to improve soil pH, organic matter (OM), organic carbon (TOC) and available potassium (AK). All amendments significantly decreased the availability of Cd and Zn, but slightly activated As and Cu. In addition, soil enzyme activities were activated by compost and inhibited by biochar, but exhibited highly variable responses to their combinations. Pearson correlation analysis indicated that electrical conductivity (EC) and AK were the most important environmental factors affecting metal availability and soil enzyme activities including dehydrogenase, catalase, β-glucosidase, urease, acid and alkaline phosphatase, arylsulfatase except for protease and invertase. Availability of As, Cu, Cd and Zn affected dehydrogenase, catalase and urease activities. These results indicated that biochar, compost and their combination have significant effects on physicochemical features, metals availability and enzyme activities in heavy metal-polluted soil.
Biochar and compost, two common amendments, were rarely conducted to investigate their combined influence on enzymatic activities and microbial communities in organic-polluted wetlands. This article described the effects of biochar/compost on degradation efficiency of sulfamethoxazole (SMX) and ecosystem responses in polluted wetland soil during the whole remediation process. 1% biochar (SB1) increased degradation efficiency of SMX by 0.067% ascribed to the increase of dehydrogenase and urease. 5% biochar (SB5) decreased degradation efficiency by 0.206% due to the decrease of enzymes especially for dehydrogenase. 2% compost (SC2), 1% biochar & 2% compost (SBC3), both 10% compost (SC10) and 5% biochar & 10% compost (SBC15) enhanced degradation efficiency by 0.033%, 0.015% and 0.222%, respectively, due to the increase of enzymes and biomass. The degradation efficiency was positively related to biomass and enzymatic activities. High-throughput sequencing demonstrated that HCGs (SB5, SC10, SBC15) improved the bacterial diversities but reduced richness through introducing more exogenous predominance strains and annihilated several inferior strains, while LCGs (SB1, SC2, SBC3) exhibited lower diversities but higher richness through enhanced the RAs of autochthonal preponderant species and maintained some inferior species. Additionally, HCGs raised the RAs of amino and lipid metabolism gene but lowered those of carbohydrate compared with LCGs.