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Microbial diversity during Rotary Drum and Windrow Pile composting

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Abstract

This study investigates the prevailing microbial communities during the composting of vegetable waste, cattle manure and saw dust, in a household (250 l) batch scale Rotary Drum composter and Windrow Pile. Physico-chemical parameters were analyzed to study the organic matter transformations. Total organic matter reduced from 63.8% to 36.2% in rotary drum and 39.6% in windrow pile composting. The C/N ratio decreased from 26.52 to 8.89 and 14.33 in rotary drum and windrow pile composting. The indigenous population of total heterotrophic bacteria decreased in rotary drum and windrow pile composting after 20 days. However, total fungal load initially increased within initial 4 days, then subsequently reduced in final composts. The average number of fecal coliforms and fecal Streptococci showed decrement with time, in both composting systems. Escherichia coli and Salmonella species number deduced during the study. Composting cycle started with Gram positive rods but ended up with the dominance of Gram negative bacilli shaped bacteria. Transformation of organic compounds during the biodegradation of organic waste, difference in the utilization of nutrients (organic matter) by the different group of microbes and high temperature could be cited as a possible reason of the above changes. Scanning electron microscopy has been used to obtain the surface structures of the cultured mycoflora. Results of the study revealed that higher diversity of microbes prevailed in rotary drum as compared to windrow pile, yielding more stable and pathogenic free compost in lesser period of composting. (© 2012 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim)

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