Reduction of odor and odorant emissions from slurry stores by means of straw covers

Swine (Sus scrofa) slurry stored in open storages is a source of airborne contaminants. A customary practice for ammonia and odor control consists of covering the surface of the slurry with floating materials, such as straw. Although straw covers have been proven to generally reduce gaseous emissions, more knowledge is needed regarding how age, moisture content, and microbiological development of the straw cover affect the emissions of odor and odorants to develop recommendations for the practical use of straw covers. This study compiles data on odor concentration and odorants above swine slurry covered by straw of different ages and moisture contents, during a 9 wk laboratory scale study. The results showed that aged straw covers significantly reduced emissions of ammonia (by 99%), dimethyl sulfide (by 81%), phenol (82%), p-cresol (by 95%), skatole (by 98%), and benzylalcohol (by 97%), while no significant differences were found between uncovered and covered slurry for emission of odor, hydrogen sulfide, volatile fatty acids, dimethyl disulfide, and indole. The moisture content of the straw cover neither affected emissions of odor nor odorants. This study suggests that the main mechanism for odor and odorants emission reduction from straw covered slurry is as a physical barrier and not as a biofilter. However, the reduction in emissions of specific gases (such as ammonia, dimethyl sulfide, p-cresol, and benzyl alcohol) appears to be also caused by the straw cover acting as a biofilter.

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