Biology and Fertility of Soils

, Volume 41, Issue 6, pp 399–410 | Cite as

Evaluation of maturity of poultry manure compost by phospholipid fatty acids analysis

  • Kotaro Kato
  • Nobuaki Miura
  • Hiroyasu Tabuchi
  • Ichio Nioh
Original Paper


To study the influence of the physical properties of compost feedstock on some characteristics associated with maturity, two types of compost were made from poultry manure, rice husk, and rice bran. The bulk density of one type (PMC) was always higher than that of another type (NMC) during composting. In the case of PMC, the change in temperature, decrease in NH4+, appearance of NO3, and increase in germination indices (GI) with Japanese Komatsuna (Brassica campestris cv. Osome) were all more delayed than in NMC. As the composting process progressed, the proportion of branched (iso-, anteiso-, 10Me-) and saturated phospholipid fatty acids (PLFA) [BRANCHED FAMES (fatty acid methyl esters), biomarkers for gram-positive bacteria] gradually increased, then reached plateau. The high proportion of BRANCHED FAMES was maintained over a long storage period. The straight hydroxyl and saturated PLFAs (SOH-FAMES) initially increased, then disappeared with the progress of composting. The increase in BRANCHED FAMES and the decrease in SOH-FAMES were more delayed in PMC than NMC. The day on which the proportion of BRANCHED FAMES reached plateau and the proportion of SOH-FAMES dipped below 2 mol% coincided with the maturity stage based on the changes of physicochemical characteristics and GI. The composition of BRANCHED FAMES showed highly positive and negative correlation with GI and NH4+, respectively. In the case of SOH-FAMES, inverse correlations were observed. This indicates that the proportion of BRANCHED FAMES and/or SOH-FAMES can be used as a tool for evaluating the maturity of poultry manure compost.


Compost maturity Phospholipid fatty acids (PLFAs) C/N ratio NH4+ and NO3 Germination indices 


  1. Alexander M (1977) Introduction to soil microbiology, 2nd edn. Wiley, New York, pp 223–304Google Scholar
  2. Alfreider A, Peters S, Tebbe CC, Rangger A, Insam H (2002) Microbial community dynamics during composting of organic matter as determined by 16S ribosomal DNA analysis. Compost Sci Util 10:303–312Google Scholar
  3. Arao T, Okano S, Kanamori T (1998) Analysis of the phospholipid fatty acids of upland light colored andosol and the relationship among the size of biomass based on phospholipid fatty acid analysis, microscopical counts and chloroform fumigation–incubation. Jpn J Soil Sci Plant Nutr 69:38–46 (in Japanese with English summary)Google Scholar
  4. Beffa T, Blanc M, Lyon P-F, Vogt G, Marchiani M, Fischer JL, Aragno M (1996) Isolation of Thermus strains from hot composts (60 to 80°C). Appl Environ Microbiol 62:1723–1727Google Scholar
  5. Belete L, Egger W, Neunhäuserer C, Caballero B, Insam H (2001) Can community level physiological profiles be used for compost maturity testing? Compost Sci Util 9:6–18Google Scholar
  6. Benito M, Masaguer A, Moliner A, Arrigo N, Palma RM (2003) Chemical and microbiological parameters for the characterization of the stability and maturity of pruning waste compost. Biol Fertil Soils 37:184–189Google Scholar
  7. Bernal MP, Paredes C, Sánchez-Monedero MA, Cegarra J (1998) Maturity and stability parameters of composts prepared with a wide range of organic wastes. Bioresour Technol 63:91–99Google Scholar
  8. Bligh EG, Dyer WJ (1959) A rapid method of total lipid extraction and purification. Can J Biochem Physiol 37:911–917Google Scholar
  9. Bolta SV, Mihelic R, Lobnik F, Leatan D (2003) Microbial community structure during composting with and without mass inocula. Compost Sci Util 11:6–15Google Scholar
  10. Boulter JI, Trevors JT, Boland GJ (2002) Micribial studies of compost: bacterial identification, and their potential for turfgrass pathogen suppression. World J Microbiol Biotechnol 18:661–671Google Scholar
  11. Brennan PJ (1988) Mycobacterium and other actinomycetes. In: Ratledge C, Wilkinson SG (eds) Microbial lipids, vol 1. Academic, London, pp 203–298Google Scholar
  12. Brodie HL, Carr LE, Condon P (2000) A comparison of static pile and turned windrow methods for poultry litter compost production. Compost Sci Util 8:178–189Google Scholar
  13. Cahyani VR, Watanabe A, Matsuya K, Asakawa S, Kimura M (2002) Succession of microbiota estimated by phospholipid fatty acid analysis and changes in organic constituents during the composting process of rice straw. Soil Sci Plant Nutr 48:735–743Google Scholar
  14. Carpenter-Boggs L, Kennedy AC, Reganold JP (1998) Use of phospholipid fatty acids and carbon source utilization patterns to track microbial community succession in developing compost. Appl Environ Microbiol 64:4062–4064Google Scholar
  15. Dee PM, Ghiorse WC (2001) Microbial diversity in hot synthetic compost as revealed by PCR-amplified rDNA sequences from cultivated isolates and extracted DNA. FEMS Microbiol Ecol 35:207–216CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Finstein MS, Miller FC (1985) Principles of composting leading to maximization of decomposition rate, odor control, and cost effectiveness. In: Gasser JKR (ed) Composting of agricultural and other wastes. Elsevier Appl Sci Publ, Barking, Essex, pp 13–26Google Scholar
  17. Frostegård Å, Bååth E (1996) The use of phospholipids fatty acid analysis to estimate bacterial and fungal biomass in soil. Biol Fertil Soils 22:59–65CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Frostegård Å, Petersen SO, Bååth E, Nielsen TH (1997) Dynamics of microbial community associated with manure hot spots as revealed by phospholipid fatty acid analyses. Appl Environ Microbiol 63:2224–2231Google Scholar
  19. Fujiwara S (1985) Quick method for checking the maturity degree of compost by using Petri dish technique. Jpn J Soil Sci Plant Nutr 56:251–252 (in Japanese)Google Scholar
  20. Fujiwara S (1988) Decomposition of poultry manure compost mixed with sawdust and its effect of application. Bull Kanagawa Hort Exp Station 36:1–100 (in Japanese with English summary)Google Scholar
  21. Garcia C, Hernández T, Costa F, Ceccanti B, Ciardi C (1992) Change in ATP content, enzyme activity and inorganic nitrogen species during composting of organic wastes. Can J Soil Sci 72:243–253Google Scholar
  22. Haruta S, Kondo M, Nakamura K, Aiba H, Ueno S, Ishii M, Igarashi Y (2002) Microbial community changes during organic solid waste treatment analyzed by double gradient-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis and fluorescence in situ hybridization. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 60:224–231CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Hassen A, Belguith K, Jedidi N, Cherif A, Cherif M, Boudabous A (2001) Microbial characterization during composting of municipal solid waste. Bioresour Technol 80:217–225Google Scholar
  24. He XT, Logan TJ, Traine SJ (1995) Physical and chemical characteristics of selected U.S. municipal solid waste composts. J Environ Qual 24:543–552Google Scholar
  25. Hellmann B, Zelles L, Palojarvi A, Bai Q (1997) Emission of climate-relevant trace gases and succession of microbial communities during open-windrow composting. Appl Environ Microbiol 63:1011–1018Google Scholar
  26. Hirai MF, Katayama A, Kubota H (1986) Effect of compost maturity on plant growth. BioCycle 27:58–61Google Scholar
  27. Hiraishi A, Ueda Y, Ishihara J, Mori T (1996) Comparative lipoquinone analysis of influent sewage and activated sludge by high-performance liquid chromatography and photodiode array detection. J Gen Appl Microbiol 42:457–469Google Scholar
  28. Hiraishi A, Yamanaka Y, Narihiro T (2000) Seasonal microbial community dynamics in a flowerpot-using personal composting system for disposal of household biowaste. J Gen Appl Micribiol 46:133–146Google Scholar
  29. Horiuchi J-I, Ebie K, Tada K, Kobayashi M, Kanno T (2003) Simplified method for estimation of microbial activity in compost by ATP analysis. Bioresour Technol 86:95–98Google Scholar
  30. Iannotti DA, Grebus ME, Toth BL, Madden LV, Hoitink HAJ (1994) Oxygen respirometry to assess stability and maturity of composted municipal solid waste. J Environ Qual 23:1177–1183Google Scholar
  31. Iglesias-Jimenez E, Perez-Garcia V (1992) Determination of maturity indices for city refuse composts. Agric Ecosyst Environ 38:331–343Google Scholar
  32. Ishii K, Fukui M, Takii S (2000) Microbial succession during a composting process as evaluated by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis analysis. J Appl Microbiol 89:768–777CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Keeling AA, Paton IK, Mullett JAJ (1994) Germination and growth of plants in media containing unstable refuse-derived compost. Soil Biol Biochem 26:767–772Google Scholar
  34. Keener HM, Marugg C, Hansen RC, Hoitink HAJ (1993) Optimizing the efficiency of the composting process. In: Hoitink HAJ, Keener HM (eds) Science and engineering of composting: design, environmental, microbiological and utilization aspects. Renaissance Publications, Ohio, pp 59–94Google Scholar
  35. Kitson RE, Mellon MG (1944) Colorimetric determination of phosphorus as moybdivanadophosphoric acid. Ind Eng Chem Anal Ed 16:379–383Google Scholar
  36. Klamer M, Bååth E (1998) Microbial community dynamics during composting of straw material studies using phospholipid fatty acid analysis. FEMS Microbiol Ecol 27:9–20Google Scholar
  37. Klamer M, Bååth E (2004) Estimation of conversion factors for fungal biomass determination in compost using ergosterol and PLFA 18:2ω6,9. Soil Biol Biochem 36:57–65Google Scholar
  38. Lechevalier H, Lechevalier MP (1988) Chemotaxonomic use of lipids—an overview. In: Ratledge C, Wilkinson SG (eds) Microbial lipids, vol 1. Academic, London, pp 879–902Google Scholar
  39. Lei F, VanderGheynst JS (1999) Assessment of microbial community structure changes during mixed and static-bed composting processes. ASAE 99–5029Google Scholar
  40. Lei F, VanderGheynst JS (2000) The effect of microbial inoculation and pH on microbial community structure changes during composting. Process Biochem 35:923–929Google Scholar
  41. Michel FC Jr, Forney LJ, Huang AJ-F, Drew S, Czuprenski M, Lindeberg JD, Reddy CA (1996) Effects of turning frequency, leaves to grass mix ratio and windrow vs pile configuration on the composting of yard trimmings. Compost Sci Util 4:26–43Google Scholar
  42. Mizuno N, Minami M (1980) The use of H2SO4–H2O2 for the destruction of plants matter as a preliminary to determination of N, K, Mg, Ca, Fe, Mn. Jpn J Soil Sci Plant Nutr 51:418–420 (in Japanese)Google Scholar
  43. Morisaki N, Phae CG, Nakasaki K, Shoda M, Kubota H (1989) Nitrogen transformation during thermophilic composting. J Ferment Bioeng 67:57–61Google Scholar
  44. Nakagawa S, Yamamoto H, Igarashi Y, Tamura Y, Yoshida K (2000) Influences of compost and organic fertilizer on the concentrations of nitrate, sugar, ascorbic acid and β-carotene in komatsuna. Jpn J Soil Sci Plant Nutr 71:625–634 (in Japanese with English summary)Google Scholar
  45. Narihiro T, Yamanaka Y, Hiraishi A (2003) High culturability of bacteria in commercially available personal composters for fed-batch treatment of household biowaste. Microbes Environ 18:94–99CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. O’Leary WM, Wilkinson SG (1988) Gram-positive bacteria. In: Ratledgy C, Wilkinson SG (eds) Microbial lipids, vol 1. Academic, London, pp 117–201Google Scholar
  47. Strom PF (1985a) Effect of temperature on bacterial species diversity in thermophilic solid-waste composting. Appl Environ Microbiol 50:899–905Google Scholar
  48. Strom PF (1985b) Identification of thermophilic bacteria in solid-waste composting. Appl Environ Microbiol 50:906–913PubMedGoogle Scholar
  49. Tang J-C, Inoue Y, Yasuta T, Yoshida S, Katayama A (2003) Chemical and microbial properties of various compost products. Soil Sci Plant Nutr 49:273–280Google Scholar
  50. Tiquia SM, Wan JHC, Tam NFY (2002) Microbial population dynamics and enzyme activities during composting. Compost Sci Util 10:150–161Google Scholar
  51. Tompkins DK, Chaw D, Abiola AT (1998) Effect of windrow composting on weed seed germination and viability. Compost Sci Util 6:30–34Google Scholar
  52. Tseng DY, Chalmers JJ, Touvinen OH (1996) ATP measurement in compost. Compost Sci Util 4:6–17Google Scholar
  53. Warman PR (1999) Evaluation of seed germination and growth tests for assessing compost maturity. Compost Sci Util 7:33–37Google Scholar
  54. White DC, Tucker AT (1969) Phospholipid metabolism during bacterial growth. J Lipid Res 10:220–233Google Scholar
  55. Wilkinson SG (1988) Gram-negative bacteria. In: Ratledge C, Wilkinson SG (eds) Microbial lipids, vol 1. Academic, London, pp 299–488Google Scholar
  56. Wilson GB, Dalmat D (1986) Measuring compost stability. BioCycle 27:34–37Google Scholar
  57. Wu L, Ma LQ, Martinez GA (2000) Comparison of methods for evaluating stability and maturity of biosolids compost. J Environ Qual 29:424–429Google Scholar
  58. Zelles L, Bai QY, Rackwitz R, Chadwick D, Besse F (1995) Determination of phospholipid- and lipopolysaccharide-derived fatty acids as an estimate of microbial biomass and community structures in soils. Biol Fertil Soils 19:115–123Google Scholar
  59. Zucconi F, de Bertoldi M (1987) Compost specification for the production and characterization of compost from municipal solid waste. In: de Bertoldi M, Ferranti MP, L’Hermite P, Zucconi F (eds) Compost: production, quality and use. Elsevier Appl Sci, Essex, pp 30–50Google Scholar
  60. Zucconi F, Pera A, Forte M, de Bertoldi M (1981) Evaluating toxicity of immanure compost. BioCycle 22:54–57Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kotaro Kato
    • 1
  • Nobuaki Miura
    • 1
  • Hiroyasu Tabuchi
    • 1
  • Ichio Nioh
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Agro-MicrobiologyShizuokaJapan

Personalised recommendations