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Effects of TiO₂ based photocatalytic paint on concentrations and emissions of pollutants and on animal performance in a swine weaning unit

Costa, Annamaria, Chiarello, Gian Luca, Selli, Elena, Guarino, Marcella
Journal of environmental management 2012 v.96 no.1 pp. 86-90
air, air quality, ammonia, animal performance, best available technology, carbon dioxide, coatings, farmers, farms, feed conversion, internal temperature, lamps, methane, nitrous oxide, paints, particulate emissions, piglets, pollutants, relative humidity, titanium dioxide, ultraviolet radiation, weaning, weight gain
The beneficial effect of a TiO₂-based photocatalytic treatment on the indoor air purification of a swine farm has been evaluated in a trial performed in two identical mechanically ventilated traditional weaning units, with 391 animals lodged in each of them. One unit was used as reference, whereas the walls of the second unit (260 m²) were coated with ca. 70 g m⁻² of TiO₂ and irradiated with ten UV-A lamps. The environmental parameters (i.e. the ventilation rate, the internal and external temperature and relative humidity), together with NH₃, CH₄, CO₂ and N₂O concentrations in the exhaust ducts and PM₁₀ emissions, were monitored in the two units throughout all of the production cycle (75 days). Significant decreases in CH₄ concentration (ca. 27%, P < 0.05) and PM₁₀ emission (ca. 17%, P < 0.01) were observed, together with an increase of the piglets' productive performance in the treated unit with respect to the reference one. Indeed, the ADG (Average Daily Gain of piglets) was 424 g vs. 414 g for the piglets lodged in the two units, respectively, with a significantly better feed conversion ratio (FCR, ratio between the food ingested by the animals and their weight gain) of 2.18 vs. 2.44 (P < 0.001). Therefore, the photocatalytic treatment with TiO₂ coating had positive effects not only on methane concentration and particulate matter concentration and emission, but also significantly improved the feed conversion ratio of growing piglets, very likely due to the increased quality of indoor air, with positive economic repercussions for the farmer. Internal photocatalytic treatment in swine husbandry could thus be considered as a potential Best Available Technology (BAT).