Evaluation of the biodegradability of animal carcasses in passively aerated bio-secure composting system

H. K. Ahn, T. D. Glanville, B. P. Crawford, J. A. Koziel, N. Akdeniz

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Composting livestock carcasses is a viable method for on-site treatment and disposal. Properly estimated carcass biodegradability is valuable for designing and controlling animal mortality composting systems. However, it is still difficult to assess the biodegradability inside composts. In this study, approximately 250kg of swine carcasses were composted in each of nine 2m × 2m weighable composting test units using three different envelope materials: corn silage, ground cornstalks, and ground oat straw. Total weight of compost material was measured monthly to observe the carcass decomposition trend with composting time. The most significant weight loss occurred during the first 6 weeks of composting. Biodegradability of the swine carcasses was estimated by comparing the mass of carcass remains after 16 weeks composting with the total carcass weight placed in the pile during the time of construction. Based on these results the influence of envelope material type on the biodegradability of swine carcasses was evaluated. The carcass decomposition within silage test units was only 66% of the initial carcass mass, while carcasses in cornstalk and oat straw test units decomposed 86% and 79% respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes
Event2007 ASABE Annual International Meeting, Technical Papers - Minneapolis, MN, United States
Duration: Jun 17 2007Jun 20 2007


Conference2007 ASABE Annual International Meeting, Technical Papers
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityMinneapolis, MN


  • Biodegradability
  • Cover materials
  • Livestock carcass
  • Mortality composting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Engineering


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