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Plant oils thymol and eugenol affect cattle and swine waste emissions differently

Varel, V.H., Miller, D.N., Lindsay, A.D.
Water science and technology : a journal of the International Association on Water Pollution Research 2004 v.50 no.4 pp. 207
chemical constituents of plants, thymol, eugenol, water pollution, gas emissions, cattle manure, pig manure, greenhouse gases, microbial contamination, fermentation, thyme, plant fats and oils, carvacrol, cloves, antimicrobial properties, short chain fatty acids, lactates, volatile fatty acids, pH, microbial activity, off odors, pathogens
Wastes generated from the production of cattle and swine in confined facilities create the potential for surface and groundwater pollution, emission of greenhouse gases, transmission of pathogens to food and water sources, and odor. It is our hypothesis that something which inhibits microbial fermentation in livestock wastes will be beneficial to solving some of the environmental problems. Our work has concentrated on the use of antimicrobial plant oils, thymol, thyme oil, carvacrol, eugenol and clove oil. Anaerobic one-litre flasks with a working volume of 0.5 L cattle or swine manure were used to evaluate the effect of thymol and eugenol on production of fermentation gas, short-chain volatile fatty acids, lactate, and bacterial populations. Either oil at 0.2% in both wastes essentially stopped all production of gas and volatile fatty acids, and eliminated all fecal coliform bacteria. In cattle but not swine waste, thymol prevented the accumulation of lactate. However, eugenol stimulated lactate formation in cattle and swine wastes. Thus, eugenol may offer a distinct advantage over thymol, because lactate accumulation in the wastes causes the pH to drop more rapidly, further inhibiting microbial activity and nutrient emissions. We conclude that plant oils may offer solutions to controlling various environmental problems associated with livestock wastes, assuming that they are cost-effective.