Effect of chemical and microbial amendments on ammonia volatilization from composting poultry litter. Academic Article uri icon


  • Research has shown that aluminum sulfate (alum) and phosphoric acid greatly reduce ammonia (NH3) volatilization from poultry litter; however, no studies have yet reported the effects of these amendments on field-scale composting of poultry litter. The objectives of this study were to (i) evaluate NH3 volatilization from composting litter by measuring both NH3 volatilization and changes in total nitrogen (N) in the litter and (ii) evaluate potential methods of reducing NH3 losses from composting poultry litter. Poultry litter was composted for 68 d the first year and 92 d the second year. Eleven treatments were screened in Year 1, which included an unamended control, a microbial mixture, a microbial mixture with 5% alum incorporated into the litter, 5 and 10% alum rates either surface-applied or incorporated, and 1 and 2% phosphoric acid rates either surface-applied or incorporated. Treatments in Year 2 included an unamended control, a microbial mixture, alum (7% by fresh wt.), and phosphoric acid (1.5% by fresh wt.). Alum and phosphoric acid reduced NH3 volatilization from composting poultry litter by as much as 76 and 54%, respectively. The highest NH3 emission rates were from microbial treatments each year. Compost treated with chemical amendments retained more initial N than all other treatments. Due to the cost and N loss associated with composting poultry litter, composting is not economical from an agronomic perspective compared with the use of fresh poultry litter.

published proceedings

  • J Environ Qual

author list (cited authors)

  • DeLaune, P. B., Moore, P. A., Daniel, T. C., & Lemunyon, J. L.

citation count

  • 60

complete list of authors

  • DeLaune, PB||Moore, PA||Daniel, TC||Lemunyon, JL

publication date

  • March 2004