Friday, March 13, 2009

Chicken Manure sorts out Oil Spills

You never know when a good idea will show up. Chicken manure has never been a satisfactory source of fertilizer on its own. This shows us a little of what we already know, but formalizes it as a preferred option where an excess of complex carbon based molecules are choking of natural remediation.

Thus hitting the beach after an oil spill, with chicken manure and mixing the two will possibly do wonders in the clean up. It could even justify the bagging and storage of chicken manure under a remediation contract formula so that the material is available as needed.

Without moisture, the biological activity is easily arrested and safely stored. This can become a viable farm product since actual utilization of this material has been suboptimal. Used as bioremediation agent, it could actually be valuable and superior to simply using chemical fertilizers.

The user gets an effective product that is also light and in the case of oil spills can be mixed with fiber to grab it all together allowing nature the opportunity to clean it all up.

Since it has always been an inconvenience for the factory farm, it is likely that other uses will ever compete significantly.

Chicken manure sorts out oil spills

Bacterial degradation of oil is under investigation as a more environmentally friendly means of cleaning up after spills. Other schemes that use chemicals such as detergents can in turn pollute the area themselves.

Often the bacteria used in such bioremediation require the addition of nitrogen and phosphorus to act as nutrients and promote their growth. Whilst researching the enrichment of microbial cultures at Wuhan University, China, Bello Yakubu found that adding chicken manure as a nutrient source also decreased the content of hydrocarbons in the soil.
"This reminded us that adding animal manure into petroleum-polluted land might be a prospective measure to remediate contaminated soil because it might be a cheaper and a more environmental-friendly way to treat the pollution caused by petroleum and animal manure simultaneously, as described in a Chinese idiom 'killing two birds with one stone'," said Huiwen Ma of Wuhan University, Yakubu's supervisor at the time. "So we decided to study the finding deeply."

After adding chicken manure to soil contaminated with 10% by volume of light crude oil, the team found that around 75% of the oil was broken down after two weeks. Soil without the manure broke down just 50% of the oil.

The researchers believe that Bacillus species and Pseudomonas aeruginosa were the best at breaking down the hydrocarbons; a total of 12 bacteria species were able to metabolize components of the oil.

As well as adding bacteria and nutrients, the manure raises the acidity of the soil to between 6.3 and 7.4 – an ideal range for growth of the bacteria. Other fertilizers used in bioremediation can be expensive and can lead to soil hardening and a loss of soil quality.

Yakubu has now returned to his native Nigeria and is at Niger State College of Education while Ma has retired and is acting as a scientific advisor to a hi-tech environmental protection company in Shenzhen, China, whose "major business is to provide solutions for treating highly concentrated organic wastewater, malodorant, and municipal solid waste, including fly-ash from incinerators and waste-activated sludge from sewage treatment facilities".

The researchers reported their work in International Journal of Environment and Pollution.

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