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Impact of mesophilic co-composting conditions on the quality of substrates produced from winery waste activated sludge and grape stalks: Lab-scale and pilot-scale studies

Semitela, Sabrina, Pirra, António, Braga, Fernando G.
Bioresource technology 2019 v.289 pp. 121622
Petroselinum crispum, activated sludge, aeration, composting, germination, grapes, horticulture, mesophilic microorganisms, parsley, plant growth, recycling, seedlings, seeds, survival rate, temperature
In this study, different amounts of a mixture of winery waste activated sludge and grape stalks were co-composted for 8 weeks, at lab-scale under different temperatures and aeration rates, and at pilot-scale. None of the experiments showed the occurrence of a thermophilic stage, even when the composting temperature was kept at 34 °C, which might suggest biological suppression by the acclimated mesophilic microorganisms ubiquitous to the winery waste activated sludge. The composted substrates were fully characterized by physicochemical analysis, plant growth tests and germination indexes using parsley (Petroselinum crispum) seedlings and seeds. Surprisingly, despite the higher volume reduction at lab-scale, it was the initial mixture and the mixture composted outdoors which presented the best horticultural qualities, with seedling survival rates of 88.9% and 87.0% and modified germination indexes of 54% and 161%, respectively. These findings shed some light on previous contradictory results and allow the development of new recycling strategies.