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Image Analysis of Sewage Sludge and Barley Straw as Biological Materials Composted under Different Conditions

Institute of Biosystems Engineering, Poznań University of Life Sciences, Wojska Polskiego 50, Poznań 60–627, Poland
Department of Environmental Engineering and Geodesy, University of Life Sciences in Lublin, Leszczyńskiego 7, Lublin 20–069, Poland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Materials 2019, 12(22), 3644;
Received: 18 October 2019 / Revised: 2 November 2019 / Accepted: 4 November 2019 / Published: 6 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Biomaterials)
Composting is one of the most important methods of sewage sludge management. This paper describes the methods of computer image analysis used for objective comparison of the appearance of composted materials under diverse conditions in terms of size and thermal insulation of the composting chambers. The research material was a mixture of sewage sludge and barley straw. The composting process was performed under strictly controlled laboratory conditions, using 10 composting chambers with five different volumes. In half of them additional thermal insulation was used, while in the others no insulation was applied. A proper composting process run was observed only in the three chambers with the largest volume and with additional thermal insulation. The images of the materials were subjected to a wide analysis, wherein the values of 17 parameters regarding color and texture were estimated. Significant differences were observed in the appearances between materials obtained during the properly running composting processes and those obtained in the chambers of insufficient size and thermal insulation. The values of the considered parameters determined for images of the composted material under normal and abnormal conditions were significantly different from each other. Thus, these parameters may be used as indicators of a correctly conducted composting process. In the cases of 15 parameters, the values of these differences exceeded 10%, and in the cases of 10 parameters 50%, while in the cases of three parameters as much as 100%. View Full-Text
Keywords: image analysis; composting; bioreactors; sewage sludge; barley straw image analysis; composting; bioreactors; sewage sludge; barley straw
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Kujawa, S.; Janczak, D.; Mazur, A. Image Analysis of Sewage Sludge and Barley Straw as Biological Materials Composted under Different Conditions. Materials 2019, 12, 3644.

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