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Home-made composts quality: methods of assessment and results

Abstract : The presented study followed three main objectives: · To sample a large sample of home made composts to obtain a data base of compost quality (physicochemical prameters) ; · To compare the quality of the sampled composts to standards and guidelines given for industrial composts ; · To ask users on their own assessment of their composts through the use of organoloeptic parameters and to compare with the analysed quality. The physic-chemical analysis of the 59 compost samples demonstrated that the studied home-made composts had the following characteristics: · Dry matter content around 30 % of wet mass · Organic matter content around 15 % of wet mass and around 50 % of dry mass · C/N ratio about 14 · pH about 8 · Fertilizing elements (Total N, P2O5 and K2O) less than 1 % of wet mass · Soluble N equals 10 % of total N · Low heavy metals content even if some punctual contamination may be measured in Copper, Zinc (probably linked to treatment made in garden and present on yard trimmings put in the composting bin) · Parasites were rarely detected. No pathogens. · GI test did not demonstrate strong immediate phytotoxic of composts on plant growth. These results tend to classify home-made compost as soil improver and growing medium. They can not be defined as fertilizers. Above results were compared with standards and guidelines for marketable composts. Mean characteristics of composts proved to be in good agreement with the specification of the ECN quality assurance for compost. Only cadmium content and mercury could be above the ECN specifications but are in line with French ones. One may also note that whatever the appearance of the sampled compost, no significant difference was measured for global parameters among samples. Standard is mainly an assurance of innocuousness of the product but not a way to evaluate the extent of biodegradation (maturity) nor the agronomic effect. As a consequence, sensory analysis results have not been correlated with the physic-chemical characteristics of composts, but relations have been searched between sensory parameters and biodegradation extent and phytotoxic effect of composts
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  • HAL Id : hal-02597665, version 1
  • IRSTEA : PUB00036687

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A. Trémier. Home-made composts quality: methods of assessment and results. [Research Report] irstea. 2012, pp.36. ⟨hal-02597665⟩

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