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AgriEngineering, Volume 1, Issue 2 (June 2019)

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Open AccessArticle
Groundwater Aquifer Suitability for Irrigation Purposes Using Multi-Criteria Decision Approach in Salah Al-Din Governorate/Iraq
AgriEngineering 2019, 1(2), 303-323; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriengineering1020023
Received: 22 April 2019 / Revised: 25 May 2019 / Accepted: 3 June 2019 / Published: 7 June 2019
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Abstract
In this study, GIS-based Multi-Criteria Decision Approach (MCDA) is used to identify suitable locations to use groundwater for irrigation purposes in Salah-Al-Din Governorate, 180 km to the North of Baghdad, capital of Iraq republic. Various criteria are adopted including Electrical Conductivity (EC), Power [...] Read more.
In this study, GIS-based Multi-Criteria Decision Approach (MCDA) is used to identify suitable locations to use groundwater for irrigation purposes in Salah-Al-Din Governorate, 180 km to the North of Baghdad, capital of Iraq republic. Various criteria are adopted including Electrical Conductivity (EC), Power of Hydrogen (pH), Sodium percentage (Na%), Sodium Adsorption Ratio (SAR), Magnesium Adsorption Ratio (MAR), Kelly’s Ratio (KR), climate factor, aquifer thickness, and aquifer elevation. Three datasets are integrated to produce the suitability model, including geophysical data, groundwater wells data and satellite-based climate data. The criteria layers are assessed using the multi-criteria decision approach by combining them together using the weighted overlay function in ArcGIS 10.5. Appropriate weights assigned and integrated into GIS to create the groundwater suitability map for irrigation. Finally, the suitability of the study area for irrigation purposes with its percent to the total area is classified into three classes according to the set criteria used for this purpose: high suitability (35.41%), low suitability (44.22%), and unsuitable/excluded (20.37%). Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Quantification of Site Layout and Filter Characteristics on Primary Filter Airflow Reduction on Commercial Swine Sites in Iowa
AgriEngineering 2019, 1(2), 291-302; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriengineering1020022
Received: 16 April 2019 / Revised: 26 May 2019 / Accepted: 30 May 2019 / Published: 4 June 2019
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Abstract
Fresh air intake filtration is used on commercial swine breeding-gestation-farrowing farms to reduce the frequency of airborne infectious agents. For swine producers, porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV), influenza A virus and Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae are considered the most economically challenging airborne pathogens. [...] Read more.
Fresh air intake filtration is used on commercial swine breeding-gestation-farrowing farms to reduce the frequency of airborne infectious agents. For swine producers, porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV), influenza A virus and Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae are considered the most economically challenging airborne pathogens. Reduced frequency of disease outbreaks has been attributed to retrofitting existing systems with filtration. Economic analysis of operating costs includes energy use, maintenance and replacement of filters. Filter replacement, the largest operational cost, is dependent on filter lifespan. However, limited data is available on filter lifespan and the rate of airflow reduction during the high dust-loading periods typically encountered for filtered swine building ventilation systems. Therefore, the objectives of this study were (1) estimate the average primary filter airflow reduction per day, (2) identify the impact of factors related to site layout, filter characteristics and weather on airflow reduction rates of filters in positive-pressure ventilated buildings and (3) determine methods for reducing average primary filter airflow reduction rate per day during row-crop harvest season. Both filter brand and the installed orientation of the filter significantly (p = 0.0314, p = 0.0419, respectively) impacted airflow reduction rates. All site layout factors were significant (driveway side, p = 0.001; dormer orientation, p = 0.0001; and dormer configuration, p = 0.0001). The materials tested significantly reduced the airflow reduction rate during row-crop harvest. The information obtained in this study will aid producers when planning for filtration, highlight details relevant to the purchase and installation of filters, identify factors that affect filter lifespan and identify methods for improving filter lifespan. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Turbulent Kinetic Energy Distribution of Nutrient Solution Flow in NFT Hydroponic Systems Using Computational Fluid Dynamics
AgriEngineering 2019, 1(2), 283-290; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriengineering1020021
Received: 26 March 2019 / Revised: 23 May 2019 / Accepted: 29 May 2019 / Published: 3 June 2019
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Abstract
Hydroponics is crucial for providing feasible and economical alternatives when soils are not available for conventional farming. Scholars have raised questions regarding the ideal nutrient solution flow rate to increase the weight and height of hydroponic crops. This paper presents the turbulent kinetic [...] Read more.
Hydroponics is crucial for providing feasible and economical alternatives when soils are not available for conventional farming. Scholars have raised questions regarding the ideal nutrient solution flow rate to increase the weight and height of hydroponic crops. This paper presents the turbulent kinetic energy distribution of the nutrient solution flow in a nutrient film technique (NFT) hydroponic system using the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) method. Its main objective is to determine the dynamics of nutrient solution flow. To conduct this study, a virtual NFT hydroponic system was modeled. To determine the turbulent kinetic energy distribution in the virtual NFT hydroponic system, we conducted a CFD analysis with different pipe diameters (3.5, 9.5, and 15.5 mm) and flow rates (0.75, 1.5, 3, and 6 L min−1). The simulation results indicate that different pipe diameters and flow rates in NFT hydroponic systems vary the turbulent kinetic energy distribution of nutrient solution flow around plastic mesh pots. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Turbulent Kinetic Energy in Bolt Fishway
AgriEngineering 2019, 1(2), 265-282; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriengineering1020020
Received: 8 April 2019 / Revised: 12 May 2019 / Accepted: 24 May 2019 / Published: 3 June 2019
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Abstract
The paper presents an analysis the spatial distribution of turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) for bolt fishways, including the impact of additional spillway slots and fixed channel development. The research was done for two models, each containing a different arrangement of slots. The presented [...] Read more.
The paper presents an analysis the spatial distribution of turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) for bolt fishways, including the impact of additional spillway slots and fixed channel development. The research was done for two models, each containing a different arrangement of slots. The presented results of research for bolt fishways were obtained as an effect of laboratory tests. The measurements were done for three components of instant flow velocity magnitude (speed). Analysis of the results was done for a 3D flow structure using Matlab software. In the case of bolt fishways, significant differences were noted for the method of velocity and TKE distribution, in reference to research comprising channels with biological development. It was stated that a reason for this is the flexible development of the channel. The occurrence of extreme TKE values in the chamber (pool) is strictly associated with the characteristics of interaction zones between various flow structures. It was also stated that the lower the parapet of the slot’s spillway shelf is in the fishway’s partition, the higher TKE could be expected just downstream of the section. These establishments may be important for the designing process in the case of fish passes of various types of construction. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Paraboloid-Based Spouted Bed Drying of Paddy: Aerodynamics, Temperature Distribution, and Moisture Degradation
AgriEngineering 2019, 1(2), 257-264; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriengineering1020019
Received: 18 March 2019 / Revised: 6 May 2019 / Accepted: 13 May 2019 / Published: 20 May 2019
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Abstract
Aerodynamics, temperature variations in the annulus, and the moisture reduction of paddy in a paraboloid-based spouted bed (PBSB) dryer without draft tube and with solid and porous draft tubes were investigated. Draft tube caused a rapid decrease in the peak pressure drop and [...] Read more.
Aerodynamics, temperature variations in the annulus, and the moisture reduction of paddy in a paraboloid-based spouted bed (PBSB) dryer without draft tube and with solid and porous draft tubes were investigated. Draft tube caused a rapid decrease in the peak pressure drop and minimum spouting velocity when compared with PBSB without a draft tube. Pressure drops with draft tubes were 17 to 30% of the values for the PBSB without a draft tube. Temperature distribution along the bed height in the annular region during drying of paddy was also investigated. Heat-up in the spouted bed without draft tube was more rapid. The experiments were conducted for 70, 90, and 110 °C inlet air temperatures. The required length of drying time to dry the paddy with an initial moisture content of 0.35 db to a moisture content below 0.15 db could be reduced by 50–60% using a temperature of 110 °C instead of 70 °C. No constant rate period was observed. Drying took place in the falling rate period. Drying time decreased in the case of porous draft tube rather than the solid one. The highest drying rates were achieved by spouted bed without draft tube. Drying rates were in the range of 0.62–0.1, 0.51–0.06, and 0.37–0.06 (db.min−1) for the spouted bed without draft tube, with porous, and solid draft tubes, respectively. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Feasibility of Determination of Foodborne Microbe Contamination of Fresh-Cut Shredded Cabbage Using SW-NIR
AgriEngineering 2019, 1(2), 246-256; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriengineering1020018
Received: 15 January 2019 / Revised: 13 May 2019 / Accepted: 14 May 2019 / Published: 16 May 2019
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Abstract
Shredded cabbage is widely used in much ready-to-eat food. Therefore, rapid methods for detecting and monitoring the contamination of foodborne microbes is essential. Short wavelength near infrared (SW-NIR) spectroscopy was applied on two types of solutions, a drained solution from the outer surface [...] Read more.
Shredded cabbage is widely used in much ready-to-eat food. Therefore, rapid methods for detecting and monitoring the contamination of foodborne microbes is essential. Short wavelength near infrared (SW-NIR) spectroscopy was applied on two types of solutions, a drained solution from the outer surface of the shredded cabbage (SC) and a ground solution of shredded cabbage (GC) which were inoculated with a mixture of two bacterial suspensions, Escherichia coli and Salmonella typhimurium. NIR spectra of around 700 to 1100 nm were collected from the samples after 0, 4, and 8 h at 37 °C incubation, along with the growth of total bacteria, E. coli and S. typhimurium. The raw spectra were obtained from both sample types, clearly separated with the increase of incubation time. The first derivative, a Savitzky–Golay pretreatment, was applied on the GC spectra, while the second derivative was applied on the SC spectra before developing the calibration equation, using partial least squares regression (PLS). The obtained correlation (r) of the SC spectra was higher than the GC spectra, while the standard error of cross-validation (SECV) was lower. The ratio of prediction of deviation (RPD) of the SC spectra was higher than the GC spectra, especially in total bacteria, quite normal for the E. coli but relatively low for the S. typhimurium. The prediction results of microbial spoilage were more reliable on the SC than on the GC spectra. Total bacterial detection was best for quantitative measurement, as E. coli contamination could only be distinguished between high and low values. Conversely, S. typhimurium predictions were not optimal for either sample type. The SW-NIR shows the feasibility for detecting the existence of microbes in the solution obtained from SC, but for a more specific application for discrimination or quantitation is needed, proving further research in still required. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Classification of Soymilk and Tofu with Diffuse Reflection Light Using a Deep Learning Technique
AgriEngineering 2019, 1(2), 235-245; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriengineering1020017
Received: 2 April 2019 / Revised: 6 May 2019 / Accepted: 13 May 2019 / Published: 15 May 2019
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Abstract
Tofu is an ancient soybean product that is produced by heating soymilk containing a coagulation agent. Owing to its benefits to human health, it has become popular all over the world. An important index that determines the final product’s (tofu’s) quality is firmness. [...] Read more.
Tofu is an ancient soybean product that is produced by heating soymilk containing a coagulation agent. Owing to its benefits to human health, it has become popular all over the world. An important index that determines the final product’s (tofu’s) quality is firmness. Coagulants such as CaSO4 and MgCl2 affect the firmness. With the increasing demand for tofu, a monitoring methodology that ensures high-quality tofu is needed. In our previous paper, an opportunity to monitor changes in the physical properties of soymilk by studying its optical properties during the coagulation process was implied. To ensure this possibility, whether soymilk and tofu can be discriminated via their optical properties should be examined. In this study, a He–Ne laser (Thorlabs Japan Inc., Tokyo, Japan, 2015) with a wavelength of 633 nm was emitted to soymilk and tofu. The images of the scattered light on their surfaces were discriminated using a type of deep learning technique. As a result, the images were classified with an accuracy of about 99%. We adjusted the network architecture and hyperparameters for the learning, and this contributed to the successful classification. The construction of a network that is specific to our task led to the successful classification result. In addition to this monitoring method of the tofu coagulation process, the classification methodology in this study is worth noting for possible use in many relevant agricultural fields. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Influence of Osmotic Dehydration on Mass Transfer Kinetics and Quality Retention of Ripe Papaya (Carica papaya L) during Drying
AgriEngineering 2019, 1(2), 220-234; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriengineering1020016
Received: 26 March 2019 / Revised: 4 May 2019 / Accepted: 9 May 2019 / Published: 14 May 2019
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Abstract
The study aimed to investigate the mass transfer kinetics and nutritional quality during osmotic dehydration (OD) and air-drying of papaya. The papaya was osmotically pretreated by different concentrations of sugar solutions (40, 50 and 60 °Brix) and osmotic solution temperatures (35, 45 and [...] Read more.
The study aimed to investigate the mass transfer kinetics and nutritional quality during osmotic dehydration (OD) and air-drying of papaya. The papaya was osmotically pretreated by different concentrations of sugar solutions (40, 50 and 60 °Brix) and osmotic solution temperatures (35, 45 and 55 °C). The ratio of fruit to the solution was kept at 1:4 (w/v) and pretreated process duration varied from 0 to 240 min. The present study demonstrated that water loss and the solute gain rate increased with the increasing of osmotic solution temperature, concentration and time. Mass transfer kinetics of osmotically pretreated papaya cubes were investigated based on the Peleg’s and Penetration models. The Peleg model showed the best fitted for water loss and solute gain whereas the Penetration model best described the water loss during osmotic dehydration of papaya. Effective diffusivity of water and solute gain was estimated using the analytical solution of Fick’s law of diffusion. Average effective diffusivity of water loss and solute gain was obtained in the range from 2.25 × 109 to 4.31 × 109 m2/s and 3.01 × 109 to 5.61 × 109 m2/s, respectively. Osmotically pretreated samples were dried with a convective method at a temperature of 70 °C. The moisture content, water activity and shrinkage of the dried papaya were decreased when the samples pretreated with a higher concentration of the osmotic solution and greater process temperature. The results also indicated that the highest osmotic solution temperature of 55 °C with the lowest concentration of 40 °Brix resulted in a significant decrease in phenolic content, antioxidant activity, and vitamin C content while higher osmotic solution concentration of 60 °Brix and the lowest temperature of the process (35 °C) retained maximum bioactive compounds. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
An Algorithm for Severity Estimation of Plant Leaf Diseases by the Use of Colour Threshold Image Segmentation and Fuzzy Logic Inference: A Proposed Algorithm to Update a “Leaf Doctor” Application
AgriEngineering 2019, 1(2), 205-219; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriengineering1020015
Received: 30 March 2019 / Accepted: 12 April 2019 / Published: 1 May 2019
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Abstract
This paper explains a proposed algorithm for severity estimation of plant leaf diseases by using maize leaf diseased samples. In the literature, a number of researchers have addressed the problem of plant leaf disease severity estimation, but a few, such as Sannakki et [...] Read more.
This paper explains a proposed algorithm for severity estimation of plant leaf diseases by using maize leaf diseased samples. In the literature, a number of researchers have addressed the problem of plant leaf disease severity estimation, but a few, such as Sannakki et al., have used fuzzy logic to determine the severity estimations of the plant leaf diseases. The present paper aims to update the current algorithm used in the “Leaf Doctor” application that is used to estimate the severities of the plant leaf diseases by introducing the benefits of fuzzy logic decision making rules. This method will contribute to precision agriculture technology as it introduces an algorithm that may be embedded in smartphone devices and used in applications, such as a “Leaf Doctor” application. The applications designed based on the algorithm proposed in this study will help users who are inexperienced and not plant pathologists understand the level of the estimated disease severity. The use of fuzzy logic inference rules along with image segmentation determines the novelty of this approach in comparison with the available methods in the literature. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Unravelling the Potency of Activated Carbon Powder Derived from Cultivated Marine Microalgae as a Promising Filler in Mixed Matrix Membranes
AgriEngineering 2019, 1(2), 188-204; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriengineering1020014
Received: 30 December 2018 / Revised: 5 April 2019 / Accepted: 10 April 2019 / Published: 16 April 2019
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Abstract
Activated carbon-filled mixed matrix membranes were commonly used to enhance the separation performance of liquid or gas separation processes. Activated carbon is traditionally derived from agricultural crops such as coconut shells or wood biomass. Marine microalgae however have a great potential to produce [...] Read more.
Activated carbon-filled mixed matrix membranes were commonly used to enhance the separation performance of liquid or gas separation processes. Activated carbon is traditionally derived from agricultural crops such as coconut shells or wood biomass. Marine microalgae however have a great potential to produce powdered activated carbon. In this study, marine microalgae Chlorella vulgaris have been evaluated for their carbon content, and the 16.09% carbon content has potential to be employed as a raw material in manufacturing activated carbon powder. Dry microalgae were carbonized at a temperature of 500 °C for 30 min, at a constant increment rate of temperature of 10 °C per minute to produce microalgae charcoal. Chemically-based activation treatments using H3PO4 and ZnCl2 with concentrations of 10%, 30%, and 50%, respectively, assisted by microwave irradiation, have been used to prepare activated carbon. The properties of activated carbon powder were analyzed including yields, ash content, volatile substances, pure activated carbon content, absorption of iodine solution, surface area, and imaging of activated carbon using SEM-EDX. The best treatment characteristics were obtained using H3PO4 at a concentration of 50% with characteristics of 19.47% yield, 11.19% ash content, 31.92% volatile content, 56.89% pure activated carbon, 325.17 mg g−1 iodine absorption, and 109.273 m2 g−1 surface area based on the Brunauer–Emmett–Teller (BET) method, as well as a 5.5-nm average pore diameter. The SEM-EDX imaging results showed the formation of micropores on the surface of activated carbon, with carbon content reaching 72.31%; however, impurities could decrease the surface area and reduce the absorption performance of microalgae activated carbon. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Views of Irish Farmers on Smart Farming Technologies: An Observational Study
AgriEngineering 2019, 1(2), 164-187; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriengineering1020013
Received: 4 March 2019 / Revised: 8 April 2019 / Accepted: 9 April 2019 / Published: 12 April 2019
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Abstract
The primary objective of this research is to find the disparity for slow adoption of Smart Farming Technologies (SFT) in Ireland. The usage of Cloud Computing technology among Irish farmers would help to find out the adoption behaviour barrier and way to enhance [...] Read more.
The primary objective of this research is to find the disparity for slow adoption of Smart Farming Technologies (SFT) in Ireland. The usage of Cloud Computing technology among Irish farmers would help to find out the adoption behaviour barrier and way to enhance from the present system. The research will also help us to indicate the reasons for farmers in adopting and not adopting any technology. The research followed a mixed method where both surveys and interviews were used to collect the data from Irish farmers. A total sample of 32 farmers were selected through snowball sampling with the help of social websites. This study explored the major factors in adopting new technology among Irish farmers. It also helped to find the perception of farmers and ways to improve from the present system. The result shows that Cloud Computing adoption among the young farmers is greater while it is lower among the old farmers in Ireland. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Potential of Oil Palm (Elaeisguineensis) Empty Fruit Bunch Fibres Cement Composites for Building Applications
AgriEngineering 2019, 1(2), 153-163; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriengineering1020012
Received: 25 January 2019 / Revised: 19 March 2019 / Accepted: 27 March 2019 / Published: 2 April 2019
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Abstract
This study was designed to evaluate the physical and mechanical properties of cement-bonded composite made from oil palm (Elaeisguineensis) empty fruit bunch (OPEFB) fibres. The production variables investigated were pre-treatment of fibres with water at varying temperatures (cold, 60 °C and [...] Read more.
This study was designed to evaluate the physical and mechanical properties of cement-bonded composite made from oil palm (Elaeisguineensis) empty fruit bunch (OPEFB) fibres. The production variables investigated were pre-treatment of fibres with water at varying temperatures (cold, 60 °C and 100 °C), five chemical additive (NaOH) concentrations (2%, 4%, 6%, 8%, and 10%), OPEFB fibres ash content at three cement replacement levels (10%, 20%, and 30%) and three fibre contents (5%, 10%, and 15%) by weight of cement. The composites were tested for modulus of elasticity (MOE), modulus of rupture (MOR), internal bonding strength (IBS), compressive strength, density, thickness swelling (TS), and water absorption (WA). The pre-treatment of fibre with water at a temperature of 60 °C and a NaOH concentration of 8% significantly enhanced and modified the performance of the composites. It increased MOE (from 5.5 to 8.9 GPa) and MOR (from 3.6 to 7.3 MPa), and decreased WA (from 26.2 to 12.8%) and TS (from 2.5 to 0.5%). The results revealed that pre-treatment of fibres, partially replacing cement with OPEFB fibre ash and fibre contents had a marked influence on the properties of the composite board produced (p < 0.05). It was concluded that pre-treatment of OPEFB fibres, when optimised, enhanced the sorption resistance and some mechanical properties of the cement composite. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Assessment of Gaseous Emissions from Cattle Abattoir Wastes in Cameroon
AgriEngineering 2019, 1(2), 145-152; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriengineering1020011
Received: 4 March 2019 / Revised: 27 March 2019 / Accepted: 28 March 2019 / Published: 2 April 2019
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Abstract
Abattoirs are potentially a significant source of greenhouse gas (GHG) methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions. Measurements were conducted in a beef cattle abattoir located in Bamenda, Cameroon, to characterise waste production and quantify GHG emissions. A male [...] Read more.
Abattoirs are potentially a significant source of greenhouse gas (GHG) methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions. Measurements were conducted in a beef cattle abattoir located in Bamenda, Cameroon, to characterise waste production and quantify GHG emissions. A male and female cattle were randomly selected on each day for waste measurement over a period of two weeks. Waste from each cattle was quantified by collecting all the intestinal/stomach contents after slaughtering and determining the mass of dry matter (DM) and volatile solids (VS). Emissions from the outdoor solid waste storage heap was measured using flux chambers. The average cattle weight was 420 kg and the average intestinal/stomach waste was 37 ± 6 kg cattle−1, half of which was dumped outdoor in a heap, while the rest was discarded with wastewater into a stream. The DM produced was 4.19 ± 0.85 kg cattle−1, representing 11% of the wastes, and the VS produced was 3.42 ± 0.82 kg cattle−1. The average ratio of waste DM to cattle weight was 1.0%, while the ratio of waste VS to cattle weight was 0.8%. Modelled CH4 emissions from the total waste was estimated at 37.84 ± 8 g CH4 cattle−1 with a range of 27.57–56.03 g CH4 cattle−1. Measured GHG emission from the outdoor heap was 5.89 ± 4.78 mg CH4 m−2 min−1, 0.137 ± 0.151 mg N2O m−2 min−1, and 95 ± 83 mg CO2 m−2 min−1. The total GHG (CH4 + N2O) emission rate was 229 mg CO2e m−2 min−1, indicating that CH4 contributes 82% of the total GHG. Improved waste management strategies, such as anaerobic digestion for biogas production or using covers over waste heaps, would help abattoirs mitigate GHG emissions. Full article
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