Volume 17 Part 1 Article 69: Phase 1 Issues Today: a Composter’s Perspective

Volume 17 Part 1 Article 69
Year 2008
Title: Phase 1 Issues Today: a Composter’s Perspective
Author: G.R. Martin


Does composting just proceed by trial and error empiricism or is it a science? The biochemistry and microbiology is complicated; composting can be regarded as a ‘black box’. The Kyoto Institute in Japan, however, is researching metabolic pathways and developing ‘wiring diagrams’ of molecular interactions that can give an insight into what is happening during composting.

One of the major issues facing compost makers relates to changes in poultry manure over the last decade. Since the mid 1990s there has been a move away from feeding poultry meat-based protein to vegetable protein derived from grains; enzymes are routinely added to poultry feed. This has had a major impact upon phase 1 composting, especially for those composters whose formulation is based upon a total wheaten straw formulation. In particular, there have been problems in relation to the late release of ammonia in phase 1 and difficulties of clearing ammonia during phase 2. The use of alternative raw materials high in available carbohydrate in phase 1 can ameliorate some of the issues.

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