Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Efficient Management and Use of Animal Manure to Protect Human Health and Environmental Quality

Location: Food Animal Environmental Systems Research

2012 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
The overall goal of the research project which is formulated as a real partnership between ARS and Western Kentucky University (WKU) is to conduct cost effective and problem solving research associated with animal waste management. The research will evaluate management practices and treatment strategies that protect water quality, reduce atmospheric emissions, and control pathogens at the animal production facilities, manure storage areas, and field application sites, particularly for the karst topography. This Project Plan is a unique situation in the sense that non-ARS scientists from WKU are included on an in-house project to conduct research under the NP 214. The objectives and related specific sub-objectives for the next 5 years are organized according to the Components (Nutrient, Emission, Pathogen, and Byproduct) of the NP 214, which mostly apply to this project as follows: 1) develop improved best management practices, application technologies, and decision support systems for poultry and livestock manure used in crop production; 2) develop methods to identify and quantify emissions, from poultry, dairy and swine rearing operations and manure applied lands; 3) reduce ammonia, odors, microorganisms and particulate emissions from dairy, swine and poultry operations through the use of treatment systems (e.g. biofilters and scrubbers) and innovative management practices; 4) perform runoff and leaching experiments on a variety of soils amended with dairy, swine, or poultry manures infected with Campylobacter jejuni (C. jejuni), Salmonella sp. or Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) and compare observed transport with that observed for common indicator organisms such as E. coli, enterococci, and Bacteriodes; and 5) use molecular-based methodologies to quantify the occurrence of pathogens and evaluate new methods to inhibit their survival and transport in soil, water, and waste treatment systems.

1b. Approach (from AD-416):
This in-house project was conceived as a cooperative/partnership and comprehensive research program between USDA-ARS Animal Waste Management Research Unit (AWMRU) and Western Kentucky University (WKU). The project is designed to utilize the scientific expertise and facilities of both institutions to conduct problem-solving research related to animal waste management in Kentucky and the southeastern U.S. The research effort will be multi-disciplinary and multifaceted in support of decision making and systems development. Research focuses will be on all four components (Nutrient, Atmospheric Emission, Pathogens, and By-products) of the National Program 214. In lieu of repeatedly stating the equipment used for analysis, please note that the state-of-the-art laboratories and equipments exist at both AWMRU and WKU, which can be accessed by the scientists including land at the WKU research station. Main instruments include: ICP, GC-MS, 2 GCs, Latchet, 2 C/N Analyzers, IC, HPLC, Real-time PCR, etc.

3. Progress Report:
Research related to this project plan under several objectives/sub-objectives investigates environmental problems related to the improper use of animal manure and agricultural waste including nutrients, pathogens, greenhouse gases (GHGs), odor-causing volatile organic compounds, dust and sediment associated with animal production facilities and manure application sites. Expansive research is going on to determine best management practices (BMPs) for crop production on land receiving agricultural waste with regard to nutrients and pathogens transport, runoff water, crop management, and soil types particularly in unique “karst topography”. Research is being conducted to look at how the addition of biochar to soil affects the transport behavior of Escherichia coli (E. coli) through unsaturated soil. Research is also being conducted on how biochar addition to soils affects the transport behavior of important pathogens commonly found in animal manures – Salmonella and Listeria – through soils. A study was initiated to evaluate the survival of naturally occurring pathogens (Campylobacter jejuni, Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella enterica) and indicator organisms (E. coli, enterococci) in applied poultry litter or dairy manure. The first year of the study was completed. Concentrations of pathogens and indicators were monitored over the course of the study. Researchers also completed development of a high-throughput Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) extraction method for analysis of target organisms in broth and soil samples. A back grounding cattle operation was used as a model site for characterization of soil nutrients, microbial pathogens, and veterinary pharmaceutical spatial distribution in a feedlot situation. Work in conjunction with Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists in Beltsville, MD, and in New Orleans, LA, continues. A new study was initiated to evaluate swine manure composting. The study is being conducted in collaboration with a farmer in Davies County, KY, and with a University of Kentucky (UK) Extension specialist. Nutrient, bacteria and chemical analyses have been conducted on two composting runs. One additional study will be conducted to determine the effect of using corn refuse as a bulking agent on the compost process. Experiments were finished determining sorption coefficients for polar organic compounds in organic matter poor soil and in the same soil amended with animal waste-derived biochar. Continuing research was performed on determining the effect of wastewater recirculation through an aerated semi-permeable membrane on wastewater malodors and greenhouse gases. An experiment has begun in utilizing biochar from fast pyrolysis of rice-hull poultry litter in biofiltration systems for ammonia removal. The experimental objective was to compare the abiotic and biotic effects of biochar in removing ammonia from air stream. Lab-scale columns were packed with poultry litter, combination of poultry litter and biochar, and biochar alone for filtration of synthetic ammonia.

4. Accomplishments

Review Publications
Sistani, K.R., Jn-Baptiste, M., Lovanh, N.C., Cook, K.L. 2011. Atmospheric emissions of nitrous oxide, methane, and carbon dioxide from different nitrogen fertilizers. Journal of Environmental Quality. 40:1797–1805.

Bolster, C.H., Abit Jr, S.M. 2012. Biochar pyrolyzed at two temperatures affects E. coli transport through a sandy soil. Journal of Environmental Quality. 41(1):124-133.

Tewolde, H., Sistani, K.R., Rowe, D.E. 2005. Broiler litter as a micronutrient source for cotton: concentrations in plant parts. Journal of Environmental Quality. 34:1697-1706.

Bjerklie, D.M., Dingman, L., Bolster, C.H. 2005. River discharge and general flow resistance in the manning and chezy equation revisited. Water Resources Research. 41, W11502.

Cook, K.L., Garland, J.L., Layton, A.C., Dionisi, H.M., Levine, L.F., Sayler, G.S. 2007. Effect of microbial species richness on community stability and community function in a model plant-based wastewater processing system. Microbial Ecology. 52:725-737.

Marcus, I.M., Bolster, C.H., Cook, K.L., Opot, S.R., Walker, S.L. 2012. Impact of growth conditions on transport behavior of E. coli. Journal of Environmental Monitoring. 14:984-991.

Loughrin, J.H., Szogi, A.A., Vanotti, M.B. 2006. Reduction of malodorous compounds from liquid swine manure by a multi-staged treatment system. Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 22(6):867-873

Tewolde, H., Shankle, M.W., Sistani, K.R., Adeli, A., Rowe, D.E. 2008. No-till and conventional-till cotton response to broiler litter fertilization in an upland soil: lint yield. Agronomy Journal. 100:502-509.

Quintanar, A., Mahmood, R., Loughrin, J.H., Lovanh, N.C. 2008. A coupled mm5-noah land surface model-based assessment of sensitivity of planetary boundary variables to anomalous soil moisture conditions. Physical Geography. 29(1):54-78

Tewolde, H., Shankle, M., Adeli, A., Sistani, K.R., Rowe, D.E. 2009. Macronutrient concentration in plant parts of cotton fertilized with broiler Litter in a marginal upland Soil. Soil & Tillage Research. 105(1):1-11.

Sistani, K.R., Adeli, A., Tewolde, H. 2010. Apparent use efficiency of nitrogen and phosphorus from broiler litter applied to bermudagrass. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis. 41(15):1873-1884.

Doerner, K., Cook, K.L., Mason, B. 2009. 3-Methylindole production is regulated in Clostridium scatologenes ATCC 25775. Letters in Applied Microbiology. 48:125-132.

Quintanar, A., Mahmood, R., Motley, M., Yan, J., Loughrin, J.H., Lovanh, N.C. 2009. Simulation of boundary layer trajectory dispersion sensitivity to soil moisture conditions: MM5 and noah-based investigation. Atmospheric Environment. 43:3774-3785.

Loughrin, J.H., Vanotti, M.B., Szogi, A.A., Lovanh, N.C. 2009. Evaluation of second-generation multistage wastewater treatment system for the removal of malodorous compounds from liquid swine waste. Journal of Environmental Quality. 38:1739-1748.

Cheng, C., Chang, Y., Sistani, K.R., Wang, Y., Lu, W., Lin, C., Dong, J., Hu, C., Pan, W. 2012. Mercury Emission and Plant Uptake of Trace Elements during Early Stage of Soil Amendment Using Flue Gas Desulfurization Materials. Journal of Air and Waste Management Association. 62(2):139-150.

Last Modified: 10/18/2017
Footer Content Back to Top of Page