Livestock Odor Fighting Microbiome

Livestock and poultry breeding generate substantial amounts of waste, contributing to environmental challenges. Odorous gases, including ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), are common byproducts of composting livestock waste.

The Biological Trickling Filter (BTF) is a cutting-edge biological air treatment system that combines equipment, media, and the NUCIRC process to deliver outstanding performance and adaptability. It operates as a hybrid of a biofilter and bioscrubber, where essential bacteria responsible for decomposition are immobilized on a carrier or filter material. This article delves into the key components of the BTF and its role in mitigating odorous gases produced during livestock and poultry breeding. Additionally, it explores the innovative use of synthetic microbial consortia to optimize odor treatment within the BTF.

Aerobic composting relies on the activity of various microorganisms, including bacteria, actinomycetes, and fungi. The composting process is characterized by shifts in microbial populations, with mesophilic bacteria dominating initially and thermophilic bacteria taking over as the process progresses. Fungi and actinomycetes become prominent in the final stages, contributing to the conversion of compost into a more digestible form.

The decomposition of organic matter is orchestrated by a succession of microorganisms, including fungi, Actinobacteria, Alphaproteobacteria, and Firmicutes. While soil conditions primarily determine decomposition rates, litter type and site characteristics influence the composition of key decomposers, such as fungi and Actinobacteria.

Bacteria, crucial to the composting process, reproduce rapidly through binary fission. This process involves the splitting of the nucleus into two, followed by the growth of a new cell wall across the middle of the cell. Under optimal conditions, a single bacterial cell can multiply into billions within a short timeframe.

The BTF is an effective tool for odor treatment in livestock facilities. However, it may have limitations in handling hydrophobic VOCs. To address this, a new study isolated and screened specific bacterial strains with odor-reducing capabilities. These included Bacillus subtilis (ammonia reduction), Bacillus cereus (sulfide ion removal), and Schizophyllum commune (dimethyl disulfide degradation).

The study combined these bacterial strains to create synthetic microbial consortia, which were then introduced into the BTF. The results were impressive, with the synthetic microbial consortia significantly improving the removal of ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, and various VOCs, including dimethyl disulfide.


Su Q, Dai D, Liao Y, Han H, Wu J, Ren Z. Synthetic microbial consortia to enhance the biodegradation of compost odor by biotrickling filter. Bioresour Technol. 2023 Nov;387:129698. doi: 10.1016/j.biortech.2023.129698. Epub 2023 Aug 19. PMID: 37598805.

Buresova A, Kopecky J, Hrdinkova V, Kamenik Z, Omelka M, Sagova-Mareckova M. Succession of Microbial Decomposers Is Determined by Litter Type, but Site Conditions Drive Decomposition Rates. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2019 Nov 27;85(24):e01760-19. doi: 10.1128/AEM.01760-19. PMID: 31604765; PMCID: PMC6881812.


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