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Research article2004

Low pH as an inhibiting factor in the transition from mesophilic to thermophilic phase in composting

Sundberg C, Smars S, Jonsson H


During composting of household waste, the acidity of the material affects the process during the initial phase of rising temperature. In this study, the effects of temperature (36-46 degreesC) and pH (4.6-9.2) on the respiration rate during the early phase of composting were investigated in two different composts. A respiration method where small compost samples were incubated at constant temperature was used. The respiration rate was strongly reduced at 46 degreesC and pH below 6, compared to composts with a higher pH or lower temperature. The combination of high temperature and low pH is a possible adverse factor in large-scale composting of food waste. (C) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved


Organic waste; Household waste; Compost; pH; Temperature; Carbon dioxide; Organic acids; Mesophilic; Thermophilic

Published in

Bioresource Technology
2004, Volume: 95, number: 2, pages: 145-150