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Co-composting of cow dung, municipal solid waste, roadside pond sediment and tannery sludge: role of human hair


In general, farmers from developing countries often use several feeding mixtures based on materials available in their vicinity resulting in a final poor-quality compost product. Human hair as a composting feed could impact on the nutrient status in prepared compost. In this study, the effect of different amount of human hair to tannery sludge, roadside pond sediment, municipal solid waste and cow dung was investigated during 70-day composting cycle. Human hair addition increased N, P and K from 1.36 to 22.85, 53.06 to 189.80 and 4.13 to 39.26%, respectively, over control. Total metal and arsenic contaminations were significantly higher than in control but lower than the Indian permissible limit. Highest amount of human hair in composting feed indicated that the germination index for tea seed (Camellia sinensis L.) was less than 80% reflecting the possible remaining phytotoxic substances. Redundancy analysis revealed that there was a significance influence of the physico-chemical variables on bacterial community.

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Authors acknowledge the joint financial support for this research provided by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India (DST/INT/South Africa/P-11/2014), and the National Research Foundation (NRF), Republic of South Africa (Grant UID: 90762). We thankfully acknowledge the financial support received from National Tea Research Foundation (NTRF), Tea Board, Government of India (Project Code No. 151/2011), for procurement of atomic absorption spectrophotometer. Miss. Krishnamoni Bora expresses her thanks and gratitude to DST for providing her fellowship. Finally, we would like to extend our sincere thanks and gratitude to the two anonymous reviewers for their valuable suggestions that helped us a lot in improving this manuscript.

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Correspondence to T. Karak.

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Editorial responsibility: M. Abbaspour.

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Karak, T., Kutu, F.R., Paul, R.K. et al. Co-composting of cow dung, municipal solid waste, roadside pond sediment and tannery sludge: role of human hair. Int. J. Environ. Sci. Technol. 14, 577–594 (2017).

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  • Compost maturity
  • Enzyme activities
  • Heavy metals
  • Microbial population
  • Redundancy analysis