An investigation of odours and volatile organic compounds released during composting

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TypeArticle
Journal titleJournal of the Air & Waste Management Association
Volume49
Pages804813; # of pages: 10
AbstractThe emissions of odors and volatile organic compounds produced from a commercial composting operation have been studied using a laboratory-scale composting system. The composting activity of a typical commercial compost feed was followed by monitoring the composting temperature, as well as the respiratory rate. Using a controlled aeration system, the gaseous volatiles produced were tested for odors using the “dilution-tothreshold” method, as well as gas composition, as determined by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. The results indicated that while there may be a reasonable correlation between the release of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and odors, care has to be taken when trying to identify offensive odors with specific chemical species. However, the data obtained suggests that offensive odors formed during commercial composting may be due to sulfurous and nitrogenous compounds, although their concentrations in the compost gases may not be very high. The major release of VOCs occurred during the first two weeks of composting, after which the gaseous releases fell dramatically as the composting process proceeded and temperatures started to fall.
Publication date
LanguageEnglish
AffiliationNRC Institute for Chemical Process and Environmental Technology; National Research Council Canada
Peer reviewedNo
NRC number41967
NPARC number14299096
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Record identifier4f4cc1ad-6550-4e1e-9ecd-a1bafd9186de
Record created2010-02-12
Record modified2016-05-09
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