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Study of Compost Maturity during Humification Process using UV-Spectroscopy

Authors: N. Sanmanee, K. Panishkan, K. Obsuwan, S. Dharmvanij


The increments of aromatic structures are widely used to monitor the degree of humification. Compost derived from mix manures mixed with agricultural wastes was studied. The compost collected at day 0, 7, 14, 21, 28, 35, 49, 77, 91, 105, and 119 was divided into 3 stages, initial stage at day 0, thermophilic stage during day 1-48, and mature stage during day 49-119. The change of highest absorptions at wavelength range between 210-235 nm during day 0- 49 implied that small molecules such as nitrates and carboxylic occurred faster than the aromatic molecules that were found at wavelength around 280 nm. The ratio of electron-transfer band at wavelength 253 nm by the benzonoid band at wavelength 230 nm (E253/E230) also gradually increased during the fermenting period indicating the presence of O-containing functional groups. This was in agreement with the shift change from aliphatic to aromatic structures as shown by the relationship with C/N and H/C ratios (r = - 0.631 and -0.717, p< 0.05) since both were decreasing. Although the amounts of humic acid (HA) were not different much during the humification process, the UV spectral deconvolution showed better qualitative characteristics to help in determining the compost quality. From this study, the compost should be used at day 49 and should not be kept longer than 3 months otherwise the quality of HA would decline regardless of the amounts of HA that might be rising. This implied that other processes, such as mineralization had an influence on the humification process changing HA-s structure and its qualities.

Keywords: Compost maturity, UV spectroscopy, humification, humic acid

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