Special Issue "Innovative Animal Manure Management for Environmental Protection, Improved Soil Fertility and Crop Production"

A special issue of Environments (ISSN 2076-3298).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 July 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Kyoung S. Ro
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
USDA Agricultural Research Service, Coastal Plains Soil, Water & Plant Research Center, Florence, SC, USA
Interests: waste to value-added products; fugitive gas emission
Dr. Ariel A. Szogi
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
USDA Agricultural Research Service, Coastal Plains Soil, Water & Plant Research Center, Florence, SC, USA
Interests: nutrient recovery technologies and byproducts utilization
Dr. Gilbert C. Sigua
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
USDA Agricultural Research Service, Coastal Plains Soil, Water & Plant Research Center, Florence, SC, USA
Interests: valorization of manure byproducts

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Traditionally, livestock manure has been used to provide nutrients for plant growth and to improve soil conditions. However, the increase in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) results in high levels of nutrients in the proximal crop and pasturelands as a result of producing more manure than what is required to meet the local plant nutrient demand. Soil runoff and leaching of land applied manure nutrients can enrich surface and ground water with nitrogen and phosphorus compounds, leading to eutrophication and hypoxia. In addition, overapplication of animal manure can spread pathogens, release hormones and other pharmaceutically active compounds, and emit ammonia, greenhouse gases, and odorous compounds. In this Special Issue, we are seeking contributions on various state-of-art technologies in treating/converting animal manures into renewable energy and utilization of byproducts to reduce environmental pollution risks while closing the nutrient loop in production agriculture.

Dr. Kyoung S. Ro
Dr. Gilbert C. Sigua
Dr. Ariel A. Szogi
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • valorization of manure
  • soil health
  • nutrient recycling
  • nutrient efficiency
  • soil fertility
  • crop production
  • fugitive gas emission
  • biochar
  • compost
  • renewable energy

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Open AccessArticle
Ammonia, Hydrogen Sulfide, and Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Lab-Scaled Manure Bedpacks with and without Aluminum Sulfate Additions
Environments 2019, 6(10), 108; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6100108 - 20 Sep 2019
Abstract
The poultry industry has successfully used aluminum sulfate (alum) as a litter amendment to reduce NH3 emissions from poultry barns, but alum has not been evaluated for similar uses in cattle facilities. A study was conducted to measure ammonia (NH3), [...] Read more.
The poultry industry has successfully used aluminum sulfate (alum) as a litter amendment to reduce NH3 emissions from poultry barns, but alum has not been evaluated for similar uses in cattle facilities. A study was conducted to measure ammonia (NH3), greenhouse gases (GHG), and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) emissions from lab-scaled bedded manure packs over a 42-day period. Two frequencies of application (once or weekly) and four concentrations of alum (0, 2.5, 5, and 10% by mass) were evaluated. Frequency of alum application was either the entire treatment of alum applied on Day 0 (once) or 16.6% of the total alum mass applied each week for six weeks. Ammonia emissions were reduced when 10% alum was used, but H2S emissions increased as the concentration of alum increased in the bedded packs. Nitrous oxide emissions were not affected by alum treatment. Methane emissions increased as the concentration of alum increased in the bedded packs. Carbon dioxide emissions were highest when 5% alum was applied and lowest when 0% alum was used. Results of this study indicate that 10% alum is needed to effectively reduce NH3 emissions, but H2S and methane emissions may increase when this concentration of alum is used. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Production of Ethanol from Livestock, Agricultural, and Forest Residuals: An Economic Feasibility Study
Environments 2019, 6(8), 97; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6080097 - 17 Aug 2019
Abstract
In this study, the economic feasibility of producing ethanol from gasification followed by syngas fermentation via commercially available technologies was theoretically evaluated using a set of selected livestock and agricultural and forest residuals ranging from low valued feedstocks (i.e., wood, wheat straw, wheat [...] Read more.
In this study, the economic feasibility of producing ethanol from gasification followed by syngas fermentation via commercially available technologies was theoretically evaluated using a set of selected livestock and agricultural and forest residuals ranging from low valued feedstocks (i.e., wood, wheat straw, wheat straws blended with dewatered swine manure, and corn stover) to high valued oilseed rape meal. A preliminary cost analysis of an integrated commercial system was made for two cases, a regional scale 50 million gallon (189,271 m3) per year facility (MGY) and a co-op scale 1–2 MGY facility. The estimates for the minimum ethanol selling prices (MESP) depend heavily on the facility size and feedstock costs. For the 1–2 MGY (3785–7571 m3/y) facility, the MESP ranged from $5.61–$7.39 per gallon ($1.48–$1.95 per liter) for the four low-value feedstocks. These high costs suggest that the co-op scale even for the low-value feedstocks may not be economically sustainable. However, the MESP for the 50 MGY facility were significantly lower and comparable to gasoline prices ($2.24–$2.96 per gallon or $0.59–$0.78 per liter) for these low-value feedstocks, clearly showing the benefits of scale-up on construction costs and MESP. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Nitrogen Mineralization in a Sandy Soil Amended with Treated Low-Phosphorus Broiler Litter
Environments 2019, 6(8), 96; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6080096 - 14 Aug 2019
Abstract
Low-phosphorus (P) litter, a manure treatment byproduct, can be used as an organic soil amendment and nitrogen (N) source but its effect on N mineralization is unknown. A laboratory incubation study was conducted to compare the effect of adding untreated (fine or pelletized) [...] Read more.
Low-phosphorus (P) litter, a manure treatment byproduct, can be used as an organic soil amendment and nitrogen (N) source but its effect on N mineralization is unknown. A laboratory incubation study was conducted to compare the effect of adding untreated (fine or pelletized) broiler litter (FUL or PUL) versus extracted, low-P treated (fine or pelletized) broiler litter (FLP or PLP) on N dynamics in a sandy soil. All four litter materials were surface applied at 157 kg N ha−1. The soil accumulation of ammonium (NH4+) and nitrate (NO3) were used to estimate available mineralized N. The evolution of carbon dioxide (CO2), ammonia (NH3), and nitrous oxide (N2O) was used to evaluate gaseous losses during soil incubation. Untreated litter materials provided high levels of mineralized N, 71% of the total N applied for FUL and 64% for PUL, while NH3 losses were 24% to 35% and N2O losses were 3.3% to 7.4% of the total applied N, respectively. Soil application of low-P treated litter provided lower levels of mineralized N, 42% for FLP and 29% for PLP of the total applied N with NH3 losses of 5.7% for FLP for and 4.1% for PLP, and very low N2O losses (0.5%). Differences in mineralized N between untreated and treated broiler litter materials were attributed to contrasting C:N ratios and acidity of the low-P litter byproducts. Soil application of treated low-P litter appears as an option for slow mineral N release and abatement of NH3 and N2O soil losses. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Differences in Microbial Communities and Pathogen Survival Between a Covered and Uncovered Anaerobic Lagoon
Environments 2019, 6(8), 91; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6080091 - 06 Aug 2019
Cited by 1 | Correction
Abstract
Anaerobic lagoons are a critical component of confined swine feeding operations. These structures can be modified, using a synthetic cover, to enhance their ability to capture the emission of ammonia and other malodorous compounds. Very little has been done to assess the potential [...] Read more.
Anaerobic lagoons are a critical component of confined swine feeding operations. These structures can be modified, using a synthetic cover, to enhance their ability to capture the emission of ammonia and other malodorous compounds. Very little has been done to assess the potential of these covers to alter lagoon biological properties. Alterations in the physicochemical makeup can impact the biological properties, most notably, the pathogenic populations. To this aim, we performed a seasonal study of two commercial swine operations, one with a conventional open lagoon, the other which employed a permeable, synthetic cover. Results indicated that lagoon fecal coliforms, and Escherichia coli were significantly influenced by sampling location (lagoon vs house) and lagoon type (open vs. covered), while Enterococcus sp. were influenced by sampling location only. Comparisons against environmental variables revealed that fecal coliforms (r2 = 0.40), E. coli (r2 = 0.58), and Enterococcus sp. (r2 = 0.25) significantly responded to changes in pH. Deep 16S sequencing of lagoon and house bacterial and archaeal communities demonstrated grouping by both sampling location and lagoon type, with several environmental variables correlating to microbial community differences. Overall, these results demonstrate that permeable synthetic covers play a role in changing the lagoon microclimate, impacting lagoon physicochemical and biological properties. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of the Type of Gas-Permeable Membrane in Ammonia Recovery from Air
Environments 2019, 6(6), 70; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6060070 - 16 Jun 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Animal production is one of the largest contributors to ammonia emissions. A project, “Ammonia Trapping”, was designed to recover gaseous ammonia from animal barns in Spain. Laboratory experiments were conducted to select a type of membrane most suitable for gaseous ammonia trapping. Three [...] Read more.
Animal production is one of the largest contributors to ammonia emissions. A project, “Ammonia Trapping”, was designed to recover gaseous ammonia from animal barns in Spain. Laboratory experiments were conducted to select a type of membrane most suitable for gaseous ammonia trapping. Three types of gas-permeable membranes (GPM), all made of expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE), but with different diameter (3.0 to 8.6 mm), polymer density (0.45 to 1.09), air permeability (2 to 40 L·min−1·cm2), and porosity (5.6 to 21.8%) were evaluated for their effectiveness to recover gas phase ammonia. The ammonia evolved from a synthetic solution (NH4Cl + NaHCO3 + allylthiourea), and an acidic solution (1 N H2SO4) was used as the ammonia trapping solution. Replicated tests were performed simultaneously during a period of 7 days with a constant flow of acidic solution circulating through the lumen of the tubular membrane. The ammonia recovery yields were higher with the use of membranes of greater diameter and corresponding surface area, but they were not affected by the large differences in material density, porosity, air permeability, and wall thickness in the range evaluated. A higher fluid velocity of the acidic solution significantly increased—approximately 3 times—the mass NH3–N recovered per unit of membrane surface area and time (N-flux), from 1.7 to 5.8 mg N·cm−2·d−1. Therefore, to optimize the effectiveness of GPM system to capture gaseous ammonia, the appropriate velocity of the circulating acidic solution should be an important design consideration. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Phytostabilization of Zn and Cd in Mine Soil Using Corn in Combination with Biochars and Manure-Based Compost
Environments 2019, 6(6), 69; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6060069 - 13 Jun 2019
Abstract
Mining activities could produce a large volume of spoils, waste rocks, and tailings, which are usually deposited at the surface and become a source of metal pollution. Phytostabilization of the mine spoils could limit the spread of these heavy metals. Phytostabilization can be [...] Read more.
Mining activities could produce a large volume of spoils, waste rocks, and tailings, which are usually deposited at the surface and become a source of metal pollution. Phytostabilization of the mine spoils could limit the spread of these heavy metals. Phytostabilization can be enhanced by using soil amendments such as manure-based biochars capable of immobilizing metal(loid)s when combined with plant species that are tolerant of high levels of contaminants while simultaneously improving properties of mine soils. However, the use of manure-based biochars and other organic amendments for mine spoil remediation are still unclear. In this greenhouse study, we evaluated the interactive effect of biochar additions (BA) with or without the manure-based compost (MBC) on the shoots biomass (SBY), roots biomass (RBY), uptake, and bioconcentration factor (BCF) of Zn and Cd in corn (Zea mays L.) grown in mine soil. Biochar additions consisting of beef cattle manure (BCM); poultry litter (PL); and lodge pole pine (LPP) were applied at 0, 2.5, and 5.0% (w/w) in combination with different rates (0, 2.5, and 5.0%, w/w) of MBC, respectively. Shoots and roots uptake of Cd and Zn were significantly affected by BA, MBC, and the interaction of BA and MBC. Corn plants that received 2.5% PL and 2.5% BCM had the greatest Cd and Zn shoot uptake, respectively. Corn plants with 5% BCM had the greatest Cd and Zn root uptake. When averaged across BA, the greatest BCF for Cd in the shoot of 92.3 was from the application of BCM and the least BCF was from the application of PL (72.8). Our results suggest that the incorporation of biochar enhanced phytostabilization of Cd and Zn with concentrations of water-soluble Cd and Zn lowest in soils amended with manure-based biochars while improving the biomass productivity of corn. Overall, the phytostabilization technique and biochar additions have the potential to be combined in the remediation of heavy metals polluted soils. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Designer Biochars Impact on Corn Grain Yields, Biomass Production, and Fertility Properties of a Highly-Weathered Ultisol
Environments 2019, 6(6), 64; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6060064 - 04 Jun 2019
Abstract
There are mixed reports for biochars’ ability to increase corn grain and biomass yields. The objectives of this experiment were to conduct a three-year corn (Zea mays L.) grain and biomass production evaluation to determine soil fertility characteristics after designer biochars were [...] Read more.
There are mixed reports for biochars’ ability to increase corn grain and biomass yields. The objectives of this experiment were to conduct a three-year corn (Zea mays L.) grain and biomass production evaluation to determine soil fertility characteristics after designer biochars were applied to a highly weathered Ultisol. The amendments, which consisted of biochars and compost, were produced from 100% pine chips (PC); 100% poultry litter (PL); PC:PL 2:1 blend; PC mixed 2:1 with raw switchgrass (Panicum virgatum; rSG) compost; and 100% rSG compost. All treatments were applied at 30,000 kg/ha to a Goldsboro loam sandy (Fine-loamy, siliceous, sub-active, thermic Aquic Paleudult). Annual topsoil samples were collected in 5-cm depth increments (0 to 15-cm deep) and pH was measured along with Mehlich 1 phosphorus (M1 P) and potassium (M1 K) contents. After three years of corn production, there was no significant improvement in the annual mean corn grain or biomass yields. Biochar, which was applied from PL and PC:PL 2:1 blend, significantly increased M1 P and M1 K concentrations down to 10-cm deep, while the other biochar and compost treatments showed mixed results when the soil pH was modified. Our results demonstrated that designer biochar additions did not accompany higher corn grain and biomass productivity. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Poultry Litter, Biochar, and Fertilizer Effect on Corn Yield, Nutrient Uptake, N2O and CO2 Emissions
Environments 2019, 6(5), 55; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6050055 - 24 May 2019
Abstract
Biochar holds promise as a soil amendment with potential to sequester carbon, improve soil fertility, adsorb organic pollutants, stimulate soil microbial activities, and improve crop yield. We used a hardwood biochar to assess its impact on corn (Zea mays) grain, biomass [...] Read more.
Biochar holds promise as a soil amendment with potential to sequester carbon, improve soil fertility, adsorb organic pollutants, stimulate soil microbial activities, and improve crop yield. We used a hardwood biochar to assess its impact on corn (Zea mays) grain, biomass yields and greenhouse gas emission in central Kentucky, USA. Six treatments included as follows: control (C) with no amendment applied; poultry litter (PL); biochar (B); biochar + poultry litter (B + PL); fertilizers N-P-K (F); and biochar + fertilizers (B + F). Biochar was applied only once to plots in 2010 followed by rototilling all plots. Only PL and fertilizer were applied annually. When applied alone, biochar did not significantly increase dry matter, grain yield, and N-P-K uptake. There was also no significant difference between the combined treatments when compared with PL or F applications alone. We observed a slight increasing trend in corn grain yield in the following 2 years compared to the first year from biochar treatment. Poultry litter treatment produced significantly greater N2O and CO2 emissions, but emissions were lower from the B+PL treatment. We conclude that this biochar did not improve corn productivity in the short term but has potential to increase yield in the long term and may have some benefit when combined with PL or F in reducing N2O and CO2 emissions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Fertilizer Efficacy of Poultry Litter Ash Blended with Lime or Gypsum as Fillers
Environments 2019, 6(5), 50; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6050050 - 01 May 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Ash from power plants that incinerate poultry litter has fertilizer value, but research is lacking on optimal land application methodologies. Experiments were conducted to evaluate calcitic lime and flue gas desulfurization gypsum (FGDG) as potential fillers for poultry litter ash land applications. The [...] Read more.
Ash from power plants that incinerate poultry litter has fertilizer value, but research is lacking on optimal land application methodologies. Experiments were conducted to evaluate calcitic lime and flue gas desulfurization gypsum (FGDG) as potential fillers for poultry litter ash land applications. The ash had phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) contents of 68 and 59 g kg−1, respectively. Soil extractable P and K were measured in an incubation pot study, comparing calcitic lime to FGDG at filler/ash ratios of 1:3, 1:2, 1:1, 2:1, and 3:1. After one month, soils were sampled and annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam.) seeds were planted to investigate how plant growth and uptake of P and K were influenced by the fillers. Application of ash alone or with fillers increased soil extractable P and K levels above unamended controls by 100% and 70%, respectively. Filler materials did not affect biomass or P and K concentration of the ryegrass. A field study with a commercial spinner disc fertilizer applicator was conducted to compare application uniformity of ash alone and filler/ash blends. Overall, test data suggested that uniform distribution of ash alone or with fillers is feasible in field applications using a commercial fertilizer spreader. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Aeration to Improve Biogas Production by Recalcitrant Feedstock
Environments 2019, 6(4), 44; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6040044 - 11 Apr 2019
Abstract
Digestion of wastes to produce biogas is complicated by poor degradation of feedstocks. Research has shown that waste digestion can be enhanced by the addition of low levels of aeration without harming the microbes responsible for methane production. This research has been done [...] Read more.
Digestion of wastes to produce biogas is complicated by poor degradation of feedstocks. Research has shown that waste digestion can be enhanced by the addition of low levels of aeration without harming the microbes responsible for methane production. This research has been done at small scales and without provision to retain the aeration in the digestate. In this paper, low levels of aeration were provided to poultry litter slurry through a sub-surface manifold that retained air in the sludge. Digestate (133 L) was supplied 0, 200, 800, or 2000 mL/day air in 200 mL increments throughout the day via a manifold with a volume of 380 mL. Digesters were fed 400 g of poultry litter once weekly until day 84 and then 600 g thereafter. Aeration at 200 and 800 mL/day increased biogas production by 14 and 73% compared to anaerobic digestion while aeration at 2000 mL/day decreased biogas production by 19%. Biogas quality was similar in all digesters albeit carbon dioxide and methane were lowest in the 2000 mL/day treatment. Increasing feed to 600 g/week decreased gas production without affecting biogas quality. Degradation of wood disks placed within the digesters was enhanced by aeration. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Application of Gas-Permeable Membranes For-Semi-Continuous Ammonia Recovery from Swine Manure
Environments 2019, 6(3), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6030032 - 06 Mar 2019
Abstract
Gas-permeable membrane technology is a new strategy to minimize ammonia losses from manure, reducing pollution and recovering N in the form of an ammonium salt fertilizer. In this work, a new operational configuration to recover N using the gas-permeable membrane technology from swine [...] Read more.
Gas-permeable membrane technology is a new strategy to minimize ammonia losses from manure, reducing pollution and recovering N in the form of an ammonium salt fertilizer. In this work, a new operational configuration to recover N using the gas-permeable membrane technology from swine manure was tested in a semi-continuous mode. It treated swine manure with a total ammonia nitrogen (TAN) concentration of 3451 mg L−1. The system was operated with low aeration rate (to raise pH), and with hydraulic retention times (HRT) of seven days (Period I) and five days (Period II) that provided total ammonia nitrogen loading rate (ALR) treatments of 491 and 696 mg TAN per L of reactor per day, respectively. Results showed a uniform TAN recovery rate of 27 g per m2 of membrane surface per day regardless of the ALR applied and the manure TAN concentration in the reactor. TAN removal reached 79% for Period I and 56% for Period II, with 90% of recovery by the membrane in both periods. Water capture in the acidic solution was also uniform during the experimental period. An increase in temperature of 3 °C of the acidic solution relative to the wastewater reduced 34% the osmotic distillation and water dilution of the product. These results suggested that the gas-permeable membrane technology operating in a semi-continuous mode has a great potential for TAN recovery from manure. Full article
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Open AccessCorrection
Correction: Ducey et al. Differences in Microbial Communities and Pathogen Survival Between a Covered and Uncovered Anaerobic Lagoon. Environments, 2019, 6, 91
Environments 2019, 6(10), 109; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6100109 - 24 Sep 2019
Abstract
The authors would like to correct the published article [...] Full article
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