Hog Manure treated with Borax Cuts Odour
At an American Society of Microbiology meeting in
Boston, Mass., Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientist Cheryl Spence
reported the results of a study in which "dusting" hog manure with borax
powder--the same substance used in laundry detergents--helps to neutralize the
malodorous microbes, which include sulfate-reducing (SR) and other anaerobic
Besides smelling unpleasant, the hydrogen sulfides, ammonia and other gases
emitted by stored hog waste can damage air quality. Additionally, disagreeable
odours can lead to tension between livestock producers and their
Using molecular genetics tools, the team measured the
treatment's effects on the manure's resident SR bacterial population, which
produces hydrogen sulfide. The team's analyses of bacteria and air showed the
borax treatments reduced SR populations by 99 percent after the first week, and
hydrogen sulfide levels by 80 percent after six weeks.
Borax offers a
promising addition for researchers evaluating manure-odour management because
the mineral is naturally occurring, fairly safe to handle, and readily
available, notes Spence.
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