Environmental Requirements for Composting

The rate of composting is believed to depend on a number of rate limiting steps, which include production and release of hydrolytic enzymes needed for the breakdown of substrates; diffusion of solubilized substrate molecules, and oxygen transport and availability within the composting mass (Huang, 1980). Optimisation of the composting process depends on the management of a number of variables such as; (a) nutrient balance; an important component of which is the carbon/ nitrogen balance. A ratio of 25-30:1 is believed to be optimal, in addition to the presence in adequate amounts of all other macro- and micro- nutrients needed by the vast array of micro-organisms that take part in composting (Jimenez and Perez 1991); (b) particle size; the optimum particle size in compost varies with the aeration rate employed, but sizes of 12-5 0mm are considered appropriate for most processes (Biddlestone and Gray, 1985); (c) moisture content; levels of 50-70% are considered optimum (Inaba et al., 1996). Moisture content influences oxygen transfer and attainable temperature in compost (Tiquia et al., 1996; Nakasaki et al., 1985a,b). Airflow rates of 0.6-1.8 m3 air day-1 kg-1 volatile solids are considered adequate. More recently, composting is being considered as a means of developing inocula for the bioremediation of contaminated soils (Laine and Jorgensen, 1996), in addition to its established use for growing edible mushrooms (Miller et al., 1990).

Organic Gardeners Composting

Organic Gardeners Composting

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