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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 36 No. 3, p. 773-779
    Received: Sept 21, 2006

    * Corresponding author(s): vince.varel@ars.usda.gov
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Influence of Thymol and a Urease Inhibitor on Coliform Bacteria, Odor, Urea, and Methane from a Swine Production Manure Pit

  1. Vincent H. Varel * and
  2. James E. Wells
  1. USDA, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, P.O. Box 166, Clay Center, NE 68933-0166, USA


Pathogens, ammonia, odor, and greenhouse gas emissions are serious environmental concerns associated with swine production. This study was conducted in two manure pits (33 000 L each) to determine the influence of 1.5 or 3.0 g thymol L−1 and 80 mg L−1 urease inhibitor amendments on urea accumulation, coliform bacteria, odor, and methane emission. Each experiment lasted 18 or 19 d, during which time 30 to 36 250-mL samples (six per day) were withdrawn from underneath each pit and analyzed for urea, thymol, volatile fatty acids, coliform bacteria, and Campylobacter At the end of each experiment, six 50-g samples from each pit were placed in serum bottles, and gas volume and composition were determined periodically for 28 d. Compared with the control pit, volatile fatty acids production was reduced 64 and 100% for the thymol amendments of 1.5 and 3.0 g L−1, respectively. Viable coliform cells were reduced 4.68 and 5.88 log10 colony-forming units kg−1 of slurry for the 1.5 and 3.0 g thymol L−1, respectively, and Escherichia coli were reduced 4.67 and 5.01 log10 colony-forming units kg−1 of slurry, respectively. Campylobacter was not detected in the pits treated with thymol, in contrast to 63% of the samples being positive for the untreated pit. Urea accumulated in the treated pits from Day 3 to 6. Total gas production from serum bottles was reduced 65 and 76% for thymol amendments of 1.5 and 3.0 g L−1, respectively, and methane was reduced 78 and 93%, respectively. These results suggest that thymol markedly reduces pathogens, odor, and greenhouse gas emissions from a swine production facility. The urease inhibitor produced a temporary response in conserving urea.

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