Department of Bio-systems Engineering, Gyeongsang National University (Institute of Agriculture and Life Science), Jinju, Korea
Department of Environmental Science, University of Peshawar, Peshawar, Pakistan
Purpose This study aimed to achieve successful composting and aeration rate and to optimize the carbon:nitrogen (C:N) ratio to provide favourable conditions for the process. In the current experiment, investigation were made on variations in physico–chemical properties, i.e., temperature, ammonia and carbon dioxide emissions, pH, electrical conductivity (EC), organic matter (OM) and seed germination index (GI%) of composting chicken manure mixed with sawdust and wood shav‑ ings under diferent aeration rates in a closed reactor system. Methods Three cylindrical reactors (total volume, 60 L) were used with three aeration rates of 0.25, 0.50 and 0.75 L min−1 kg−1 OM. The air was dispensed from the bottom of an air compressor. The ambient and compost temperature were monitored thrice daily over 30 days of composting. Results The highest temperatures were 56.9, 55.8 and 48.1 °C, with 0.25, 0.50 and 0.75 L min−1 kg−1 OM aeration rates, respectively. At the end of composting, lowest ammonia and carbon dioxide emissions were observed with 0.25 L min−1 kg−1 OM aeration, indicating that this compost was more stable than other composts. The lowest GI was recorded on day 30 with 0.75 L min−1 kg−1 OM aeration, indicating severe phytotoxicity in the substrate. Maximum OM degradation occurred with 0.25 L min−1 kg−1 OM aeration. Conclusion This study, therefore, suggested that 0.25 L min−1 kg−1 OM aeration in the composing of the chicken manure mixed with sawdust and wood shavings in closed a reactor system provided the most favourable conditions for maturation.