The term compost has been defined by Zucconi and Bertoldi (1987) as 'the stabilized and sanitized product of composting which is beneficial to plant growth. It has undergone an initial, rapid stage of decomposition and is in the process of humification.' The initial thermophilic stage of decomposition is the means of self-sanitizing and removing pathogens. If the compost is insufficiently humified, it is immature, and the wide C:N ratio causes it to immobilize soil nitrogen as it continues to actively decompose in the soil. If sufficiently sanitized and humified, the compost is said to be biomature. The development of globally accepted criteria for compost specifications is still at an early stage, so some scientists have proposed biomaturity tests (Mathur et al., 1993).
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