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Title: Sodium tetraborate decahydrate treatment reduces hydrogen sulfide emissions and the sulfate reducing bacteria population of swine manure

item YOKOYAMA, MELVIN - Michigan State University
item Spence, Cheryl
item HENGEMUEHLE, SUSAN - Michigan State University
item Whitehead, Terence
item VON BERNUTH, ROBERT - Michigan State University
item Cotta, Michael

Submitted to: Journal of Environmental Quality
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/3/2016
Publication Date: 9/1/2016
Citation: Yokoyama, M.T., Spence, C., Hengemuehle, S.M., Whitehead, T.R., Von Bernuth, R., Cotta, M. 2016. Sodium tetraborate decahydrate treatment reduces hydrogen sulfide emissions and the sulfate reducing bacteria population of swine manure. Journal of Environmental Quality. doi: 10.2134/jeq2016.06.0219.

Interpretive Summary: The present research determined that the addition of borax to swine manure slurries can significantly reduce the production of the odorous and toxic chemical hydrogen sulfide and the bacteria that can produce the compound. Management practices from large-scale swine production facilities have resulted in the increased collection and storage of manure for off-season fertilization use. Odor and emissions produced during storage have increased the tension among rural neighbors and among urban and rural residents. Production of these compounds from stored manure is the result of microbial activity of the anaerobic bacteria populations during storage. The inhibitory effects of borax on swine manure for reduction of microbial activity and reduced production of the toxic odorant hydrogen sulfide produced by sulfate-reducing bacteria was determined. Significant reductions were observed during the 6-weeks course of the study. The addition of borax to stored swine manure should benefit the swine producer and surrounding residents by reducing production of odorous compounds.

Technical Abstract: The emission of odorous and toxic gases from stored livestock manure is well documented, and poses a serious health risk to farmers and livestock. Hydrogen sulfide emissions have been sharply rising with more intensive livestock production and are of particular concern due to its acute toxicity. Numerous strategies, technologies and chemical treatments have been employed to control hydrogen sulfide emissions but none have worked particularly well, because they are either not cost effective, too toxic for exposure to animals, or environmentally unsustainable. The inhibitory effects of sodium tetraborate decahydrate (i.e. 20 Mule Team Borax®) treatment of stored swine manure to reduce hydrogen sulfide production by sulfate reducing bacteria (SRB) was examined. Shallow manure pits in a starter-grower swine facility were treated with borax at weekly intervals for 4-6 wks. Hydrogen sulfide emission was monitored in the air of the facility and samples of manure recovered from the treated pits were used to isolate DNA to measure SRB and total bacteria populations using quantitative PCR. Addition of sodium tetraborate decahydrate (borax) to stored swine manure effectively reduced hydrogen sulfide production by over 60 % in comparison to the untreated control manure pits and the reduction was shown to be correlated to a decrease in the sulfate reducing bacteria population in the stored swine manure. Borax did not appear to inhibit ammonia and methane production.