U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


Date of this Version


Document Type



Journal of Applied Microbiology 2004, 97, 1001–1005



This article is a U.S. government work, and is not subject to copyright in the United States.


Aim: To determine how eugenol affects fermentation parameters and faecal coliforms in cattle and swine waste slurries stored anaerobically. Methods and Results: Waste slurries (faeces : urine : water, 50 : 35 : 15) were blended with and without additives and aliquoted to triplicate 1-l flasks. Faecal coliforms were eliminated in cattle and swine waste slurries within 1 or 2 days with additions of eugenol at 10·05 mM (0·15%) and 16·75 mM (0·25%). At these concentrations volatile fatty acids (VFA) were reduced ca 70 and 50% in cattle and swine waste, respectively, over 6–8 weeks. Additionally, in cattle waste, eugenol stimulated the accumulation of lactate (>180 mM) when compared with thymol treatment (20 mM lactate). In swine waste, lactate accumulation did not occur without additives; eugenol and thymol stimulated lactate accumulation to concentrations of 22 and 32 mM, respectively. Conclusions: Eugenol added to cattle waste may be more beneficial than thymol because not only does it effectively control faecal coliforms and odour (VFA production), it also stimulates lactate accumulation. This in turn, causes the pH to drop more rapidly, further inhibiting microbial activity and nutrient emissions. Significance and Impact of the Study: Plant essential oils have the potential to solve some of the environmental problems associated with consolidated animal feeding operations. Thymol and eugenol reduce fermentative activity, thus, have the potential to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and odour, and curtail transmission of pathogens in cattle and swine wastes.