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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Fayetteville, Arkansas » Poultry Production and Product Safety Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #400929

Research Project: Developing Best Management Practices for Poultry Litter to Improve Agronomic Value and Reduce Air, Soil and Water Pollution

Location: Poultry Production and Product Safety Research

Title: Poultry litter physiochemical characterization based on production conditions for circular systems

item Ashworth, Amanda

Submitted to: BioResources
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/12/2023
Publication Date: 4/20/2023
Citation: Katuwal, S., Nur-Al-Sarah, R., Ashworth, A.J., Kolar, P. 2023. Poultry litter physiochemical characterization based on production conditions for circular systems. BioResources. 18(2):3961-3977.

Interpretive Summary: With the production of over 9 billion broiler (meat) chickens annually, poultry farming in the U.S. generates more than 30 billion pounds of poultry litter each year. Knowledge of litter properties such as moisture content, energy density, carbon, and nutrient contents are important for its effective and economic utilization. One of the challenges related to determining potential uses of poultry litter relates to the variation of its composition because of variation in poultry house bedding materials, management, storage, and handling of poultry litter. Detailed characterization of poultry litter properties can aid in selection and/or development of technology or processes that achieve higher yield from the resources at hand. Therefore, the overall objective of this study was to provide a detailed characterization of physical and chemical properties of poultry litter obtained from two commercial facilities representative of two major poultry producing states (Arkansas and North Carolina) in the U.S. The properties of poultry litter from the two commercial facilities are discussed and compared in relation to their value as a soil amendment and biofeedstock source, or use for energy production. We surmise that such a detailed characterization of poultry litter would aid in the comparison and selection of feed materials for a suite of products for various applications given the availability and high nutrient content of this byproduct for use in circular economies.

Technical Abstract: Poultry litter is a useful product as a fertilizer source, energy feedstock for thermochemical conversion, and a precursor for synthesis of adsorbents and catalysts. Detailed characterization of baseline properties is necessary for enhanced environmental and economic utilization of this valuable resource. In this study, baseline physicochemical characterization was determined from two broiler production facilities (Arkansas, PL1, and North Carolina, PL2). Greater concentrations of inorganic nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium was obtained for PL1 suggesting greater nutrient value as compared to PL2. PL2 had greater carbon content and water-holding capacity than PL1. X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) of PL1 and PL2 indicated a similarity between litters in terms of the presence of carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen bonds. Both poultry litters had oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur, and phosphorous functional groups confirmed by infrared spectroscopy. Time of flight - secondary ion mass spectroscopy of negative ions also indicated similarity of the surface charge distribution between PL1 and PL2. Overall, poultry litter evaluated had similar surface chemistries, with nutrient composition varying based on rearing conditions, which has implications for downstream use in thermochemical conversion and other value-added products.