Project Number: 8042-32420-005-37-R
Project Type: Reimbursable Cooperative Agreement
Start Date: Jan 1, 2012
End Date: Jun 30, 2013
ARS is participating with Clemson University on strategies to improve microbial safety in the composting process. ARS is interested in the role of physical covering on survival of bacteria in composting process systems; static and windrow pile. The Cooperator is interested in laboratory scale studies and alternative compost covering for static pile system.
ARS proposes to evaluate finished compost as a physical covering for controlling bacterial pathogens in compost. A comparative set of triplicate static piles and windrow piles will be constructed. The ‘toes’ of the pile at both ends of each windrow will be focal points for microbial sentry samples, continuous temperature dataloggers, and weed seed indicator packets. Microbial sentry samples will be prepared and inoculated with the same strains as used in the Clemson studies and placed in the pile toes, the interface between the new feedstock, and the cover. Compost samples will be collected periodically for quality analyses and target bacteria. Weed seed viability as evidenced by germination following composting for different periods of time/temperature exposure will be described.